The STARDEX project's seven European research teams, led by the University of East Anglia, narrowed down evidence of changing weather patterns to predict the occurrence of floods, heat waves and drought on even smaller regions across the UK and Europe.
And the new method of analysis could help governments prepare for or even prevent a predicted increase in flooding by up to 50 per cent in certain areas of the River Rhine and by 25 per cent in areas such as north-west England by the end of the century.
The European Union-funded project brought together expertise from across Europe to study the complex impacts of regional climate change.
Its report is published as United Nations leaders gather in Montreal, Canada, next week (November 28 to December 9) for the UN climate change conference to discuss the Kyoto Protocol and the impact of climate change.
In the past climate change analysts have only been able to predict the impact of global warming on temperature and rainfall by examining the output of global climate models every 250 km. This large scale analysis meant that temperature and rainfall trends were averaged out resulting in generalizations about the impact of climate change on local regions.
The STARDEX project was the first European-wide study to apply a large variety of the best statistical and modeling techniques to determine the likely impact of climate change at specific sites. Termed downscaling, these techniques give a much better idea of possible changes in temperature and rainfall at the local scale.
The research groups used observed station data for six case study regions across Europe and a specially constructed dataset of 491 European wide daily station records to analyse climate trends over the past 40 years and likely changes at the end of t
Contact: Nicola Barrell
University of East Anglia