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Five hundred years of gridded high-resolution precipitation reconstructions over Europe and the connection to large-scale circulation.

Fig. 9 a,c. Scaled anomaly composites of winter (DJF) precipitation. Five hundred years of gridded high-resolution precipitation reconstructions over Europe and the connection to large-scale circulation.
Climate Dynamics
Volume 26, No. 4, pp. 387-405, March 2006

Andreas Pauling1, Jürg Luterbacher1,2, Carlo Casty3, Heinz Wanner1,2

1 Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
2 National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Climate, Erlachstrasse 9a, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
3 Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland

Fig. 9 a,c. Scaled anomaly composites of winter (DJF) precipitation. The composite precipitation maps are based on the 5% wettest (panel a) and driest winters (panel c) over central Europe of the period 1500-2000.
We present seasonal precipitation reconstructions for European land areas (30°W to 40°E/30-71°N; given on a 0.5° x 0.5° resolved grid) covering the period 1500-1900 together with gridded reanalysis from 1901 to 2000 (Mitchell and Jones 2005). Principal component regression techniques were applied to develop this dataset. A large variety of long instrumental precipitation series, precipitation indices based on documentary evidence and natural proxies (tree-ring chronologies, ice cores, corals and a speleothem) that are sensitive to precipitation signals were used as predictors. Transfer functions were derived over the 1901-1983 calibration period and applied to 1500-1900 in order to reconstruct the large-scale precipitation fields over Europe. The performance (quality estimation based on unresolved variance within the calibration period) of the reconstructions varies over centuries, seasons and space. Highest reconstructive skill was found for winter over central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. Precipitation variability over the last half millennium reveals both large interannual and decadal fluctuations. Applying running correlations, we found major non-stationarities in the relation between large-scale circulation and regional precipitation. For several periods during the last 500 years, we identified key atmospheric modes for southern Spain/northern Morocco and central Europe as representations of two precipitation regimes. Using scaled composite analysis, we show that precipitation extremes over central Europe and southern Spain are linked to distinct pressure patterns. Due to its high spatial and temporal resolution, this dataset allows detailed studies of regional precipitation variability for all seasons, impact studies on different time and space scales, comparisons with high-resolution climate models as well as analysis of connections with regional temperature reconstructions.
Download data from the WDC Paleo archive:
European Precipitation Reconstructions
Data Description
Mean precipitation, Spring
Mean precipitation, Summer
Mean precipitation, Autumn
Mean precipitation, Winter
Gridded precipitation, Spring (8 MB g-zipped file)
Gridded precipitation, Summer (8 MB g-zipped file)
Gridded precipitation, Autumn (8 MB g-zipped file)
Gridded precipitation, Winter (8 MB g-zipped file)
To read or view the full study, please visit the Springer website.
It was published in Climate Dynamics, Volume 26, No. 4, pp. 387-405, March 2006.
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