Harmonized European Long-Term Climate Data for Assessing the Effect of Changing Temporal Variability on Land-Atmosphere CO2 Fluxes


Temporal variability of meteorological variables and extreme weather events is projected to increase in many regions of the world during the next century. Artificial experiments using process-oriented terrestrial ecosystem models make it possible to isolate effects of temporal variability from effects of gradual climate change on terrestrial ecosystem functions and the system state. Such factorial experiments require two longterm climate datasets: 1) a control dataset that represents observed and projected climate and 2) a dataset with the same long-term mean as the control dataset but with altered short-term variability. Using a bias correction method, various climate datasets spanning different periods are harmonized and then combined with the control dataset with consistent time series for Europe during 1901-2100. Then, parameters of a distribution transformation function are estimated for individual meteorological variables to derive the second climate dataset, which has similar long-term means but reduced temporal variability. The transformation conserves the number of rainy days within a month and the shape of the daily meteorological data distributions, which is important to ensure that, for example, drought duration does not modify the suitability of localized vegetation type to precipitation regimes. The median absolute difference between daily data of both datasets is 5% to 20%. On average, decadal extreme values are reduced by 2% to 35%. Driving a terrestrial ecosystem model with both climate datasets shows a general higher gross primary production under reduced temporal climate variability. This effect of climate variability on productivity demonstrates the potential of the climate datasets for studying various effects of temporal variability on ecosystem state and functions over large domains. © 2014 American Meteorological Society.

Journal of Climate