EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Seasonal prediction of European Summer Heatwaves

Chloé Prodhomme1,2,3, Stefano Materia4, Constantin Ardilouze1, Rachel H. White3,5, Lauriane Batté1, Virginie Guemas1, Georgios Fragkoulidis6, and Javier Garcia Serrano2
Chloé Prodhomme et al.
  • 1CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo France, CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 2Group of Meteorology, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Barcelona, Spain
  • 4CSP division, Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Bologna Italy
  • 5Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 6Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

Under the influence of global warming, heatwaves are becoming a major threat in many parts of the world, affecting human health and mortality, food security, forest fires, biodiversity, energy consumption, as well as the production and transportation networks. Seasonal forecasting is a promising tool to help mitigate these impacts on society. Previous studies have highlighted some predictive capacity of seasonal forecast systems for specific strong heatwaves such as those of 2003 and 2010. To our knowledge, this study is thus the first of its kind to systematically  assess the prediction skill of heatwaves over Europe in a state-of-the-art seasonal forecast system. One major prerequisite to do so is to appropriately define heatwaves. Existing heatwave indices, built to measure heatwave duration and severity, are often designed for specific impacts and thus have limited robustness for an analysis of heatwave variability. In this study, we investigate the seasonal prediction skill of summer heatwave propensity in the ECMWF System 5 operational forecast system (SEAS5) by means of several dedicated metrics as well as its added-value compared to a simple statistical model. We are able to show, for the first time, that seasonal forecasts initialized in early May can provide potentially useful information of summer heatwave propensity.

How to cite: Prodhomme, C., Materia, S., Ardilouze, C., White, R. H., Batté, L., Guemas, V., Fragkoulidis, G., and Garcia Serrano, J.: Seasonal prediction of European Summer Heatwaves, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5725,, 2021.

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