In this study, we aim to better understand the current and future projections of precipitation extremes in Europe in the context of climatic variability over a long-term period from the last millennium to the end of the 21st century. The daily gridded precipitation data from 5 global climate models (GCMs) of Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) are chosen to investigate natural variability and precipitation extremes during the last millennium (850-1849), historical (1850-2005) period and two Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5) scenarios (2006-2099). First, the seasonal and annual precipitation and extreme statistics from GCMs are evaluated using reconstruction and observation. Second, the spatial and temporal patterns of extreme precipitation from GCMs are investigated from the last millennium to the end of the 21st century. Meanwhile, the characteristic changes of the extreme precipitation for the 5 regions of Europe are further analyzed. The results revealed that: GCMs underestimate extreme precipitation and overestimate mean precipitation compared with the observations from European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECA&D); the whole Europe except southern Europe will most likely have large magnitude increases in the extreme precipitation and mean precipitation in the future under both two RCP scenarios; there is no systematic change of precipitation extremes from the last millennium to the historical period from all GCMs; larger magnitude increases are shown in 100-year and 200-year than in 5-year and 10-year return period precipitation from both two RCP scenarios. In addition, short-duration extreme precipitation will most likely increase more than longer-duration extremes.

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