Faculté des sciences

August 2005 intense rainfall event in Switzerland: not necessarily an analog for strong convective events in a greenhouse climate

Beniston, Martin

In: Geophysical research letters, 2006, vol. 33, p. L0570

The intense convective storms that affected the Swiss Alps in late August 2005 resulted in what has been referred to as the “floods of the century” (i.e., the past 100 years). While exceptional in terms of their intensity, the 2005 storms do not appear to be anchored within any long-term trends; there are no more intense storms today than a century ago. Despite uncertainties related to... Plus

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    Summary
    The intense convective storms that affected the Swiss Alps in late August 2005 resulted in what has been referred to as the “floods of the century” (i.e., the past 100 years). While exceptional in terms of their intensity, the 2005 storms do not appear to be anchored within any long-term trends; there are no more intense storms today than a century ago. Despite uncertainties related to regional climate simulations of precipitation in complex terrain, projections for a “greenhouse climate” by 2100 suggest that extreme rainfall events may undergo a seasonal shift, with a rise in the number of episodes in the spring and autumn. Paradoxically, associated impacts may be reduced because the buffering effects of snowfall on runoff may be greater in future springs and autumns than during current summers, implying the 2005 floods are not necessarily an analog for such events by the end of the 21st century.