EU-WATCH (WATer and global CHange)
The current generation of global and regional climate models (GCMs and RCMs) is still expected to unsatisfactory reproduce historical extremes, given the considerable variability in the prediction of rainfall patterns, including differences between climate models and between different ensemble members of the same climate model.
The EC Integrated Project (WATCH: WATer and global CHange) will advance the knowledge and skills to predict the effect of climate change on drought by enhancing our understanding of the present situation. It will analyse and describe the current global water cycle (20th century), especially causal chains in the physical system (climate-hydrology) leading to observable changes in extremes (e.g. droughts). It will evaluate how the global water cycle and in particular droughts (21st century) respond to future drivers of global change. The frequency, severity and scale of the drought events will be analysed, with emphasis on past and future conditions. It will address possible causes for observed trends/changes in the extremes (detection and attribution) and evaluate the sensitivity in the extremes due to climate change and other anthropogenic influences.
WATCH focuses on climate change and large scale modelling, and knowledge on the physical system (climate and hydrology) still needs to be enhanced, particular covering the wide range of hydroclimatological regions across the world. This includes a better understanding of driving forces in the climate system leading up to drought and the development (space-time) of a meteorological drought into a soil water and hydrological drought. Improved knowledge in these fields is essential for early warning systems as well as for the prediction of possible impacts of climate change.