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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 May 2018

Research article | 09 May 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Inconsistencies between observed, reconstructed, and simulated precipitation over the British Isles during the last 350 years

Oliver Bothe, Sebastian Wagner, and Eduardo Zorita Oliver Bothe et al.
  • Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Coastal Research, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany

Abstract. The scarcity of long instrumental records, uncertainty in reconstructions, and insufficient skill in model simulations hamper assessing how regional precipitation changed over past centuries. Here, we use standardised precipitation data to compare global and regional climate simulations and reconstructions and long observational records of seasonal mean precipitation in England and Wales over the past 350 years. The effect of the external forcing on the precipitation records appears very weak. Internal variability dominates all records. Even the relatively strong exogenous forcing history of the late 18th and early 19th century shows only little effect in synchronizing the different records. Multi-model simulations do not agree on the changes over this period. Precipitation estimates are also not consistent among reconstructions, simulations, and instrumental observations regarding the probability distributions’ changes in the quantiles for severe and extreme dry or wet conditions and in the standard deviations.

We have also investigated the possible link between precipitation and temperature variations in the various data sets. This relationship is also not consistent across the data sets. Thus, one cannot reach any clear conclusions about precipitation changes in warmer or colder background climates during the past centuries.

Our results emphasize the complexity of changes in the hydroclimate during the most recent historical period and stress the necessity of a thorough understanding of the processes affecting forced and unforced precipitation variability.

Oliver Bothe et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Oliver Bothe et al.
Data sets

Precipitation and Temperature from a Regional Climate Model simulation with CCLM for Europe over the period 1645-1999CE PRIME2

Oliver Bothe et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Our understanding of future climate changes increases if different sources of information agree on past climate variations. Changing climates particularly impact local scales for which future changes in precipitation are highly uncertain. Here, we use information from observations, model simulations, and climate reconstructions for regional precipitation over the British Isles. We find these do not agree well on precipitation variations over the past few centuries.
Our understanding of future climate changes increases if different sources of information agree...