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Mittermeier, Magdalena ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8668-281X; Weigert, Maximilian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4400-134X; Rügamer, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8772-9202; Küchenhoff, Helmut ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6372-2487 and Ludwig, Ralf ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4225-4098 (2022): A deep learning based classification of atmospheric circulation types over Europe: projection of future changes in a CMIP6 large ensemble. In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 17, No. 8, 084021 [PDF, 9MB]


High- and low pressure systems of the large-scale atmospheric circulation in the mid-latitudes drive European weather and climate. Potential future changes in the occurrence of circulation types are highly relevant for society. Classifying the highly dynamic atmospheric circulation into discrete classes of circulation types helps to categorize the linkages between atmospheric forcing and surface conditions (e.g. extreme events). Previous studies have revealed a high internal variability of projected changes of circulation types. Dealing with this high internal variability requires the employment of a single-model initial-condition large ensemble (SMILE) and an automated classification method, which can be applied to large climate data sets. One of the most established classifications in Europe are the 29 subjective circulation types called Grosswetterlagen by Hess & Brezowsky (HB circulation types). We developed, in the first analysis of its kind, an automated version of this subjective classification using deep learning. Our classifier reaches an overall accuracy of 41.1% on the test sets of nested cross-validation. It outperforms the state-of-the-art automatization of the HB circulation types in 20 of the 29 classes. We apply the deep learning classifier to the SMHI-LENS, a SMILE of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6, composed of 50 members of the EC-Earth3 model under the SSP37.0 scenario. For the analysis of future frequency changes of the 29 circulation types, we use the signal-to-noise ratio to discriminate the climate change signal from the noise of internal variability. Using a 5%-significance level, we find significant frequency changes in 69% of the circulation types when comparing the future (2071–2100) to a reference period (1991–2020).

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