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Predictability of Multi-Decadal Climate Variations in the Mediterranean “Hot Spot”

The Mediterranean region has been identified as a primary climate change “Hot Spot”, with a greenhouse gas “forced” signal projected to emerge already early in the 21st century. Natural multi-decadal fluctuations will contribute to define the climate variations which will be observed in the next few decades. The forced climate response and a linkage with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggested by various studies, are both potential sources of regional predictability. A careful evaluation of the regional decadal predictive potential and of current prediction capability is urgently needed to plan for climate adaptation. 

The goal of this work is to assess the degree of decadal predictability of climate anomalies in the Mediterranean region. Research will test the hypothesis that “There exists significant decadal predictability of climate anomalies in the Mediterranean region resulting from external forcings and AMO-related variability”. The proposed research has the following objectives: 1) assess the degree of predictability of past decadal climate variations in the Mediterranean region by evaluating the role of AMO-related variability and the externally forced response 2) assess the skill of CMIP5-class decadal prediction systems to hindcast past decadal Mediterranean climate anomalies and evaluate future decadal predictions. Research tasks include observational-model based analyses of the AMO-Mediterranean linkage and of CMIP5 model performance; an examination of sources of regional predictability; an evaluation of CMIP5 hindcasts prediction experiments over the Mediterranean, and of decadal predictions of future regional climate anomalies. 

Work will contribute to CMIP5-related research initiatives to address decadal variability/predictability/prediction, building understanding on decadal predictability and evaluating CMIP5 decadal prediction systems taking the Mediterranean as a test-bed. This proposal addresses CVP’s FY 2010 “Decadal Climate Predictability and Prediction” priorities by performing necessary underpinning work to meet the challenge facing NOAA and the international climate community to develop Climate Services. 

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