Future evolution of extreme precipitation in the Mediterranean (scientific article)

Tramblay Y, Somot S (2018) Future evolution of extreme precipitation in the Mediterranean. Climatic Change, 151, 2, 289–302 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2300-5


Mediterranean basins can be impacted by severe floods caused by extreme rainfall, and there is a growing awareness about the possible increase in these heavy rainfall events due to climate change. In this study, the climate change impacts on extreme daily precipitation in 102 catchments covering the whole Mediterranean basin are investigated using nonstationary extreme value model applied to annual maximum precipitation in an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model (RCM) simulations from the Euro-CORDEX experiment. Results indicate contrasted trends, with significant increasing trends in Northern catchments and conversely decreasing trends in Southern catchments. For most cases, the time of signal emergence for these trends is before the year 2000. The same spatial pattern is obtained under the two climate scenarios considered (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) and in most RCM simulations, suggesting a robust climate change signal. The strongest multi-model agreement concerns the positive trends, which can exceed + 20% by the end of the twenty-first century in some simulations, impacting South France, North Italy, and the Balkans. For these areas, society-relevant strong impacts of such Mediterranean extreme precipitation changes could be expected in particular concerning flood-related damages.

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This article was often cited in French media in the context of floods in Aude department (France) in October 2018:

Vers une intensification des pluies extrêmes dans le sud de l’Europe (IRD scientific news, 8 October 2018)

Inondations dans l’Aude : les « épisodes méditerranéens » seront de plus en plus intenses (Le Monde, 15 October 2018)

L’Aude frappée de plein fouet par des inondations meurtrières (La Croix, 15 October 2018)

A bridge washed away by the flood in Villegailhenc (Aude, France), 15 October 2018, ERIC CABANIS / AFP


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