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CR 72:217-237 (2017)  -  DOI:

Seasonal patterns and consistency of extreme precipitation trends in Europe, December 1950 to February 2008

Ewa B. Łupikasza*

Department of Climatology, Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia in Katowice, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Seasonal trends in extreme precipitation indices were investigated for 30 yr moving periods between December 1950 and February 2008. To update the 2008 to 2015 data, supplementary calculations were performed for >120 meteorological stations. A linear regression of the least squares method was used to calculate trend magnitudes. Trend significance was tested using the Mann-Kendall method. Changes in short-term trend frequency and temporal coherence were assessed. Extreme precipitation was defined as a daily amount exceeding the 95th percentile, calculated separately for each month and station using daily totals ≥1 mm. The spatial pattern of extreme precipitation trends varied by season. Significant extreme precipitation trends were rare, constituting approximately 25 to 30% of all analysed trends, and were seldom temporally coherent. Most of these significant trends were upward, except in summer, when a nearly equal frequency of positive and negative trends was found. Increases in the frequency and the total were a characteristic feature of extreme precipitation changes, particularly in winter. Seasonal variations in the spatial patterns of extreme precipitation trends may have resulted from seasonal changes in the prominence of the driving factors of precipitation. In spring, upward trends in Central and Western Europe were twice as frequent as the downward trends found primarily in Southern Europe. In summer, the percentages of significant downward trends in Western Europe and upward trends in Eastern Europe were similar. In autumn, a coherent decrease in extreme precipitation was clear in Central Europe. The spatial distribution of trend directions was the most consistent in winter.

KEY WORDS: Precipitation trends · Heavy precipitation · Climate change · Trend variability and coherence · Europe

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Cite this article as: Łupikasza EB (2017) Seasonal patterns and consistency of extreme precipitation trends in Europe, December 1950 to February 2008. Clim Res 72:217-237.

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