European marginal seas in a regional atmosphere–ocean coupled model and their impact on Vb-cyclones and associated precipitation

2019 - Climate Dynamics, Volume 53, Issue 9–10, pp 5967–5984


Akhtar, N.

Additional authors:

Krug, A., Brauch, J., Arsouze, T., Dieterich, C., Ahrens, B.




Vb-cyclones are extratropical cyclones propagating from the Western Mediterranean Sea and traveling across the Eastern Alps into the Baltic region. With these cyclones, extreme precipitation over Central Europe potentially triggers significant flood events. Understanding the prediction ability of Vb-cyclones would lower risks from adverse impacts. This study analyzes the robustness of an atmosphere–ocean regional coupled model, including interactive models for the Mediterranean Sea (MED) and North and Baltic Seas (NORDIC) in reproducing observed Vb-cyclone characteristics. We use the regional climate model (RCM) COSMO-CLM (CCLM) in stand-alone and coupled with the ocean model NEMO configurations for the EURO-CORDEX domain from 1979 to 2014, driven by the ERA-Interim reanalysis. Sea surface temperature (SST) is evaluated to demonstrate the stability and reliability of the coupled configurations. Compared to observations, simulated SSTs show biases (~ 1 °C), especially during winter and summer. Generally, all model configurations are able to replicate Vb-cyclones, their trajectories, and associated precipitation fields. Cyclone trajectories are comparably well simulated with the coupled models, as with the stand-alone simulation which is driven by the reanalysis SST in the MED and NORDIC seas. The cyclone intensity shows large deviations from reanalysis reference in the simulations with the interactive MED Sea, and smallest with CCLM. Precipitation characteristics are similarly simulated in the coupled and stand-alone (with reanalysis SST) simulations. The results suggest that our coupled RCM is useful for studying the impacts of highly resolved and interactively simulated SSTs on European extreme events and regional climate, a crucial prerequisite for understanding future climate conditions.