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  • Zolina, O., C. Simmer, S. K. Gulev, and S. Kollet, 2010: Changing structure of European precipitation: Longer wet periods leading to more abundant rainfalls. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L06704, doi:10.1029/2010GL042468.

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Changes in the Duration of European Wet and Dry Spells during the Last 60 Years

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  • 1 Meteorologisches Institut, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany, and P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Moscow, Russia
  • | 2 Meteorologisches Institut, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • | 3 Department of Mathematics, University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
  • | 4 P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, and NRAL, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
  • | 5 NRAL, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
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Abstract

Daily rain gauge data over Europe for the period from 1950 to 2009 were used to analyze changes in the duration of wet and dry spells. The duration of wet spells exhibits a statistically significant growth over northern Europe and central European Russia, which is especially pronounced in winter when the mean duration of wet periods increased by 15%–20%. In summer wet spells become shorter over Scandinavia and northern Russia. The duration of dry spells decreases over Scandinavia and southern Europe in both winter and summer. For the discrimination between the roles of a changing number of wet days and of a regrouping of wet and dry days for the duration of the period, the authors suggest a fractional truncated geometric distribution. The changing numbers of wet days cannot explain the long-term variability in the duration of wet and dry periods. The observed changes are mainly due to the regrouping of wet and dry days. The tendencies in duration of wet and dry spells have been analyzed for a number of European areas. Over the Netherlands both wet and dry periods are extended in length during the cold and the warm season. A simultaneous shortening of wet and dry periods is found in southern Scandinavia in summer. Over France and central southern Europe during both winter and summer and over the Scandinavian Atlantic coast in summer, opposite tendencies in the duration of wet and dry spells were identified. Potential mechanisms that might be responsible for the changing durations of wet and dry periods and further perspectives are discussed.

Current affiliation: Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, Grenoble, France.

Corresponding author address: Olga Zolina, LGGE, CNRS/UJF-Grenoble 1, 54 Rue Moliere, BP 96, 38402, Saint Martin d’Heres CEDEX, France. E-mail: ozolina@lgge.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr

Abstract

Daily rain gauge data over Europe for the period from 1950 to 2009 were used to analyze changes in the duration of wet and dry spells. The duration of wet spells exhibits a statistically significant growth over northern Europe and central European Russia, which is especially pronounced in winter when the mean duration of wet periods increased by 15%–20%. In summer wet spells become shorter over Scandinavia and northern Russia. The duration of dry spells decreases over Scandinavia and southern Europe in both winter and summer. For the discrimination between the roles of a changing number of wet days and of a regrouping of wet and dry days for the duration of the period, the authors suggest a fractional truncated geometric distribution. The changing numbers of wet days cannot explain the long-term variability in the duration of wet and dry periods. The observed changes are mainly due to the regrouping of wet and dry days. The tendencies in duration of wet and dry spells have been analyzed for a number of European areas. Over the Netherlands both wet and dry periods are extended in length during the cold and the warm season. A simultaneous shortening of wet and dry periods is found in southern Scandinavia in summer. Over France and central southern Europe during both winter and summer and over the Scandinavian Atlantic coast in summer, opposite tendencies in the duration of wet and dry spells were identified. Potential mechanisms that might be responsible for the changing durations of wet and dry periods and further perspectives are discussed.

Current affiliation: Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, Grenoble, France.

Corresponding author address: Olga Zolina, LGGE, CNRS/UJF-Grenoble 1, 54 Rue Moliere, BP 96, 38402, Saint Martin d’Heres CEDEX, France. E-mail: ozolina@lgge.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr
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