The regional MiKlip decadal forecast ensemble for Europe: the added value of downscaling
The prediction of climate on time scales of years to decades is attracting the interest of both climate researchers and stakeholders. The German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) has launched a major research programme on decadal climate prediction called MiKlip (Mittelfristige Klimaprognosen, Decadal Climate Prediction) in order to investigate the prediction potential of global and regional climate models (RCMs). In this paper we describe a regional predictive hindcast ensemble, its validation, and the added value of regional downscaling. Global predictions are obtained from an ensemble of simulations by the MPI-ESM-LR model (baseline 0 runs), which were downscaled for Europe using the COSMO-CLM regional model. Decadal hindcasts were produced for the 5 decades starting in 1961 until 2001. Observations were taken from the E-OBS data set. To identify decadal variability and predictability, we removed the long-term mean, as well as the long-term linear trend from the data. We split the resulting anomaly time series into two parts, the first including lead times of 1–5 years, reflecting the skill which originates mainly from the initialisation, and the second including lead times from 6–10 years, which are more related to the representation of low frequency climate variability and the effects of external forcing. We investigated temperature averages and precipitation sums for the summer and winter half-year. Skill assessment was based on correlation coefficient and reliability. We found that regional downscaling preserves, but mostly does not improve the skill and the reliability of the global predictions for summer half-year temperature anomalies. In contrast, regionalisation improves global decadal predictions of half-year precipitation sums in most parts of Europe. The added value results from an increased predictive skill on grid-point basis together with an improvement of the ensemble spread, i.e. the reliability.