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Winter North Atlantic Oscillation impact on European precipitation and drought under climate change

Abstract

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is responsible for the climatic variability in the Northern Hemisphere, in particular, in Europe and is related to extreme events, such as droughts. The purpose of this paper is to study the correlation between precipitation and winter (December–January–February–March (DJFM)) NAO both for the historical period (1951–2000) and two future periods (2001–2050 and 2051–2100). NAO is calculated for these three periods by using sea level pressure, while precipitation data from seven climate models following the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 are also used in this study. An increasing trend in years with positive DJFM NAO values in the future is defined by this data, along with higher average DJFM NAO values. The correlation between precipitation and DJFM NAO is high, especially in the Northern (high positive) and Southern Europe (high negative). Therefore, higher precipitation in Northern Europe and lower precipitation in Southern Europe are expected in the future. Cross-spectral analysis between precipitation and DJFM NAO time series in three different locations in Europe revealed the best coherence in a dominant cycle between 3 and 4 years. Finally, the maximum drought period in terms of consecutive months with drought is examined in these three locations. The results can be used for strategic planning in a sustainable water resources management plan, since there is a link between drought events and NAO.

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Acknowledgements

This work is partly supported by the IMPREX project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 framework program (grant 641811).

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Correspondence to I. Tsanis.

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Tsanis, I., Tapoglou, E. Winter North Atlantic Oscillation impact on European precipitation and drought under climate change. Theor Appl Climatol 135, 323–330 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-018-2379-7

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