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Maude Dinan, Emile Elias, Nicholas P. Webb, Greg Zwicke, Timothy S. Dye, Skye Aney, Michael Brady, Joel R. Brown, Robert R. Dobos, Dave DuBois, Brandon L. Edwards, Sierra Heimel, Nicholas Luke, Caitlin M. Rottler, and Caitriana Steele
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S. Gualdi, S. Somot, L. Li, V. Artale, M. Adani, A. Bellucci, A. Braun, S. Calmanti, A. Carillo, A. Dell'Aquila, M. Déqué, C. Dubois, A. Elizalde, A. Harzallah, D. Jacob, B. L'Hévéder, W. May, P. Oddo, P. Ruti, A. Sanna, G. Sannino, E. Scoccimarro, F. Sevault, and A. Navarra

In this article, the authors describe an innovative multimodel system developed within the Climate Change and Impact Research: The Mediterranean Environment (CIRCE) European Union (EU) Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) project and used to produce simulations of the Mediterranean Sea regional climate. The models include high-resolution Mediterranean Sea components, which allow assessment of the role of the basin and in particular of the air–sea feedbacks in the climate of the region.

The models have been integrated from 1951 to 2050, using observed radiative forcings during the first half of the simulation period and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B scenario during the second half.

The projections show a substantial warming (about 1.5°–2°C) and a significant decrease of precipitation (about 5%) in the region for the scenario period. However, locally the changes might be even larger. In the same period, the projected surface net heat loss decreases, leading to a weaker cooling of the Mediterranean Sea by the atmosphere, whereas the water budget appears to increase, leading the basin to lose more water through its surface than in the past. Overall, these results are consistent with the findings of previous scenario simulations, such as the Prediction of Regional Scenarios and Uncertainties for Defining European Climate Change Risks and Effects (PRUDENCE), Ensemble-Based Predictions of Climate Changes and Their Impacts (ENSEMBLES), and phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3). The agreement suggests that these findings are robust to substantial changes in the configuration of the models used to make the simulations.

Finally, the models produce a 2021–50 mean steric sea level rise that ranges between +7 and +12 cm, with respect to the period of reference.

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P. M. Ruti, S. Somot, F. Giorgi, C. Dubois, E. Flaounas, A. Obermann, A. Dell’Aquila, G. Pisacane, A. Harzallah, E. Lombardi, B. Ahrens, N. Akhtar, A. Alias, T. Arsouze, R. Aznar, S. Bastin, J. Bartholy, K. Béranger, J. Beuvier, S. Bouffies-Cloché, J. Brauch, W. Cabos, S. Calmanti, J.-C. Calvet, A. Carillo, D. Conte, E. Coppola, V. Djurdjevic, P. Drobinski, A. Elizalde-Arellano, M. Gaertner, P. Galàn, C. Gallardo, S. Gualdi, M. Goncalves, O. Jorba, G. Jordà, B. L’Heveder, C. Lebeaupin-Brossier, L. Li, G. Liguori, P. Lionello, D. Maciàs, P. Nabat, B. Önol, B. Raikovic, K. Ramage, F. Sevault, G. Sannino, M. V. Struglia, A. Sanna, C. Torma, and V. Vervatis

Abstract

The Mediterranean is expected to be one of the most prominent and vulnerable climate change “hotspots” of the twenty-first century, and the physical mechanisms underlying this finding are still not clear. Furthermore, complex interactions and feedbacks involving ocean–atmosphere–land–biogeochemical processes play a prominent role in modulating the climate and environment of the Mediterranean region on a range of spatial and temporal scales. Therefore, it is critical to provide robust climate change information for use in vulnerability–impact–adaptation assessment studies considering the Mediterranean as a fully coupled environmental system. The Mediterranean Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (Med-CORDEX) initiative aims at coordinating the Mediterranean climate modeling community toward the development of fully coupled regional climate simulations, improving all relevant components of the system from atmosphere and ocean dynamics to land surface, hydrology, and biogeochemical processes. The primary goals of Med-CORDEX are to improve understanding of past climate variability and trends and to provide more accurate and reliable future projections, assessing in a quantitative and robust way the added value of using high-resolution and coupled regional climate models. The coordination activities and the scientific outcomes of Med-CORDEX can produce an important framework to foster the development of regional Earth system models in several key regions worldwide.

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W. P. Kustas, D.C. Goodrich, M.S. Moran, S. A. Amer, L. B. Bach, J. H. Blanford, A. Chehbouni, H. Claassen, W. E. Clements, P. C. Doraiswamy, P. Dubois, T. R. Clarke, C. S. T. Daughtry, D. I. Gellman, T. A. Grant, L. E. Hipps, A. R. Huete, K. S. Humes, T. J. Jackson, T. O. Keefer, W. D. Nichols, R. Parry, E. M. Perry, R. T. Pinker, P. J. Pinter Jr., J. Qi, A. C. Riggs, T. J. Schmugge, A. M. Shutko, D. I. Stannard, E. Swiatek, J. D. van Leeuwen, J. van Zyl, A. Vidal, J. Washburne, and M. A. Weltz

Arid and semiarid rangelands comprise a significant portion of the earth's land surface. Yet little is known about the effects of temporal and spatial changes in surface soil moisture on the hydrologic cycle, energy balance, and the feedbacks to the atmosphere via thermal forcing over such environments. Understanding this interrelationship is crucial for evaluating the role of the hydrologic cycle in surface–atmosphere interactions.

This study focuses on the utility of remote sensing to provide measurements of surface soil moisture, surface albedo, vegetation biomass, and temperature at different spatial and temporal scales. Remote-sensing measurements may provide the only practical means of estimating some of the more important factors controlling land surface processes over large areas. Consequently, the use of remotely sensed information in biophysical and geophysical models greatly enhances their ability to compute fluxes at catchment and regional scales on a routine basis. However, model calculations for different climates and ecosystems need verification. This requires that the remotely sensed data and model computations be evaluated with ground-truth data collected at the same areal scales.

The present study (MONSOON 90) attempts to address this issue for semiarid rangelands. The experimental plan included remotely sensed data in the visible, near-infrared, thermal, and microwave wavelengths from ground and aircraft platforms and, when available, from satellites. Collected concurrently were ground measurements of soil moisture and temperature, energy and water fluxes, and profile data in the atmospheric boundary layer in a hydrologically instrumented semiarid rangeland watershed. Field experiments were conducted in 1990 during the dry and wet or “monsoon season” for the southwestern United States. A detailed description of the field campaigns, including measurements and some preliminary results are given.

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