Skillful decadal prediction of unforced southern European summer temperature variations

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Leonard F Borchert , Vimal Koul, Matthew B. Menary, Daniel J. Befort, Didier Swingedouw, Giovanni Sgubin, Juliette Mignot


We assess the capability of decadal prediction simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) archive to predict European summer temperature during the period 1970-2014. Using a multi-model ensemble average from 8 decadal prediction systems, we show that European summer temperatures are highly predictable for up to 10 years in CMIP6. Much of this predictive capability, or skill, is related to the externally forced response. Prediction skill for the unforced signal of European summer temperature is low. A link between unforced Southern European summer temperature and preceding spring Eastern North Atlantic - Mediterranean sea surface temperature (SST) observed during the period 1900-1969 motivates the application of a dynamical-statistical model to overcome the low summer temperature skill over Europe. This dynamical-statistical model uses dynamical spring SST predictions to predict European summer temperature. Our model significantly increases decadal prediction skill of unforced European summer temperature variations: Unlike purely dynamical predictions, the dynamical-statistical model shows significant prediction skill for unforced Southern European summer temperature 2-9 years ahead. Our results highlight that dynamical-statistical models can serve to benefit the decadal prediction of variables with initially limited skill beyond the forcing, such as summer temperature over Europe.



Physical Sciences and Mathematics


CMIP6, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Climate prediction, European summer temperature


Published: 2021-06-25 11:42

Last Updated: 2021-06-25 18:42


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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