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Lukas Brunner, Gabriele C. Hegerl, and Andrea K. Steiner

1. Introduction European weather and climate are strongly influenced by large-scale circulation patterns such as the Atlantic storm tracks, the jet stream, and atmospheric blocking (e.g., Woollings 2010 ). Atmospheric blocking describes a meteorological situation in which a persistent and stationary high pressure system blocks the climatological westerly flow at midlatitudes for several days to weeks ( Rex 1950 ; Tibaldi and Molteni 1990 ; Pelly and Hoskins 2003 ; Barriopedro et al. 2006

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Cristina Peña-Ortiz, David Barriopedro, and Ricardo García-Herrera

1. Introduction European average temperatures have risen over the last century, with a faster rate over the last decades that ranges between 0.2° and 0.5°C decade −1 for the period 1981–2012 ( Hartmann et al. 2013 ). The annual cycle of the surface temperature over Europe has also experienced changes over the last decades, including a shift toward earlier seasons and larger annual peak-to-peak amplitudes, the latter being opposite to overall trends over land (e.g., Stine et al. 2009 ). Many

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C. J. Bell, L. J. Gray, A. J. Charlton-Perez, M. M. Joshi, and A. A. Scaife

in composite studies of long datasets ( Mann et al. 2000 ; Brönnimann et al. 2007 ), appearing as a projection onto a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The signal is manifest as a zonally orientated dipole over Europe with anomalously high MSLP over northern Europe, and low MSLP over southern Europe and the Mediterranean ( van Loon and Madden 1981 ; Fraedrich et al. 1992 ; Gouirand and Moron 2003 ). In general, the NH extratropical winter response takes on a structure

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M. F. P. Bierkens and L. P. H. van Beek

components of the climate system, such as sea surface temperature (SST) and related large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns ( Cullen et al. 2002 ; Peterson et al. 2002 ; Tootle et al. 2005 ). In Europe, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is considered to be the strongest driver of interyear climate variability ( Hurrell and van Loon 1997 ; Appenzeller et al. 1998 ) and the main factor explaining anomalies in winter precipitation and temperature ( Hurrell 1995 ). Owing to the connection between

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Olga Zolina, Clemens Simmer, Konstantin Belyaev, Sergey K. Gulev, and Peter Koltermann

1. Introduction Rising intensities of mean and heavy precipitation over Europe during the last decades have been documented in many studies ( Klein Tank and Können 2003 ; Zolina et al. 2005 , 2009 ; Groisman et al. 2005 ; Moberg et al. 2006 ; Alexander et al. 2006 ). More detailed studies also confirm these tendencies for certain regions of Europe ( Frei and Schär 2001 ; Schmidli and Frei 2005 ; Brunetti et al. 2006 ; Zolina et al. 2008 ; Łupikasza et al. 2011 ; Villarini et al. 2011

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David P. Rowell

1. Introduction A well-known feature of future climate change scenarios is drier midlatitude continental summers, particularly over Europe, the United States, and parts of southern Canada (e.g., Manabe and Wetherald 1987 ; Gregory et al. 1997 ; Wetherald and Manabe 1999 ; Rowell and Jones 2006 , hereafter RJ06 ; Christensen et al. 2007 ). This drying, along with accompanying heat waves, is expected to have notable impacts on society and ecosystems, affecting, for example, water resources

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Ronald van Haren, Reindert J. Haarsma, Geert Jan Van Oldenborgh, and Wilco Hazeleger

1. Introduction General circulation models (GCMs) attempt to simulate Earth’s climate. Often these models are used to isolate the drivers of climate change in response to natural and/or anthropogenic forcings. While some features are well represented in GCMs (e.g., global temperature), other aspects remain uncertain ( Flato et al. 2014 ). One of these aspects is (regional) precipitation in Europe ( van Haren et al. 2013a , b ). A correct representation of precipitation in climate models is

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Mischa Croci-Maspoli and Huw C. Davies

1. Introduction The European winter of 2005/06 was notable in that it bucked the prevailing decadal trend toward warmer winter conditions, and indeed there were sustained anomalously cold temperatures and high snow accumulation over most of the continent ( Pinto et al. 2007 ). Features of the larger-scale flow that influenced the occurrence of anomalous European winter conditions include 1) the prevailing pattern of interannual climate variability in the Euro–Atlantic sector, 2) the day

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Yehui Zhang, Dian J. Seidel, and Shaodong Zhang

. Recent studies ( Liu and Liang 2010 ; Seidel et al. 2010 ) have investigated aspects of the global climatology of PBL height using radiosonde data. A recent climatological study of the PBL over the continental United States and Europe ( Seidel et al. 2012 ) estimated PBL height using a method based on the bulk Richardson number (Ri) ( Vogelezang and Holtslag 1996 ), quantified observed diurnal and seasonal variations in PBL height (above ground level), and compared radiosonde observations of PBL

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Ran Huo, Lu Li, Hua Chen, Chong-Yu Xu, Jie Chen, and Shenglian Guo

1. Introduction In recent decades, Europe has experienced a significant increase in hydrological extremes that have significantly impacted socioeconomic and natural systems. A series of recorded flood events have occurred, such as the disastrous August 2002 flood in central Europe and the devastating flood in Germany in 2013 ( Ulbrich et al. 2003 ; Merz et al. 2014 ). However, such extreme events have long return periods and rarely appear in observational datasets ( Hirabayashi et al. 2013

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