Extreme winds over Europe in the ENSEMBLES regional climate models
Abstract. Extreme winds cause vast amounts of damage every year and represent a major concern for numerous industries including construction, afforestation, wind energy and many others. Under a changing climate, the intensity and frequency of extreme events are expected to change, and accurate projections of these changes will be invaluable to decision makers and society as a whole. This work examines four regional climate model downscalings over Europe following the SRES A1B scenario from the "ENSEMBLE-based Predictions of Climate Changes and their Impacts" project (ENSEMBLES). It investigates the projected changes in the 50 yr return wind speeds and the associated uncertainties. This is accomplished by employing the peaks-over-threshold method with the use of the generalised Pareto distribution. The models show that, for much of Europe, the 50 yr return wind is projected to change by less than 2 m s−1, while the uncertainties associated with the statistical estimates are larger than this. In keeping with previous works in this field, the largest source of uncertainty is found to be the inter-model spread, with some locations showing differences in the 50 yr return wind of over 20 m s−1 between two different downscalings.