Karin van der Wiel

www.karinvanderwiel.nl | wiel@knmi.nl | +31 (0)30 2206 783

Hi, I'm Karin.

I work as a postdoctoral research scientist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).

My general research interests include atmospheric dynamics, atmosphere-ocean interactions, extreme events, regional weather and the impact of weather on society. Most of my research focuses is on how internal climate variability and climate change might impact these topics.

I hope to contribute to increasing our understanding of Earth’s weather and climate in a way that is useful for society.

Please be in contact with any questions, requests for PDFs of publications or anything else.

Research projects

Extreme precipitation

Mild weather

Diagonal convergence zones

Converging sea breezes


In review

xiv. S Philip, S Sparrow, SF Kew, K van der Wiel, N Wanders, R Singh, A Hassan, K Mohammed, H Javid, K Haustein, FEL Otto, F Hirpa, RH Rimi, AKM Saiful Islam, DCH Wallom, and GJ van Oldenborgh: Attributing the 2017 Bangladesh floods from meteorological and hydrological perspectives. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions.

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In August 2017 Bangladesh faced one of its worst river flooding events in recent history. This paper presents for the first time an attribution of this precipitation-induced flooding from a combined meteorological and hydrological perspective. Experiments were conducted with three observational data sets and two climate models to estimate changes in extreme 10-day precipitation event frequency over the Brahmaputra basin. The precipitation fields were then used as meteorological input for four different hydrological models to estimate the corresponding changes in river discharge, allowing for comparison between approaches and for the robustness of the attribution results to be assessed.
In all three observational precipitation data sets the climate change trends for extreme precipitation similar to observed in August 2017 are not significant, however in two out of three series, the sign of this insignificant trend is positive. One climate model shows a significant positive influence of anthropogenic climate change, whereas the other simulates a cancellation between the increase due to greenhouse gases and a decrease due to sulphate aerosols. Considering discharge rather than precipitation, the hydrological models show that attribution of the change in discharge towards higher values is somewhat less uncertain than for precipitation, but the 95% confidence interval still encompasses no change in risk. For the future, all models project an increase in probability of extreme events at 2°C global heating since pre-industrial times, becoming more than 1.7 times more likely for high 10-day precipitation, and about a factor 1.5 more likely for discharge. Our best estimate on the trend in flooding events similar to the Brahmaputra event of August 2017 is derived by synthesizing the observational and model results: We find the change in risk to be greater than one and of similar order of magnitude (between 1 and 2) for both the meteorological and hydrological approach. This study shows that, for precipitation-induced flooding events, investigating changes in precipitation is useful, either as an alternative when hydrological models are not available, or as an additional measure to confirm qualitative conclusions. Besides, it highlights the importance of using multiple models in attribution studies, particularly where the climate change signal is not strong relative to natural variability or is confounded by other factors such as aerosols.


xiii. L Krishnamurthy, GA Vecchi, X Yang, K van der Wiel, V Balaji, SB Kapnick, L Jia, F Zeng, K Paffendorf, S Underwood (2018): Causes and probability of occurrence of extreme precipitation events like Chennai 2015. Journal of Climate, 31, pp. 3831–3848.

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xii. FEL Otto, K van der Wiel, GJ van Oldenborgh, S Philip, S Kew, P Uhe, H Cullen (2018): Climate change increases the probability of heavy rains in Northern England/Southern Scotland like those of storm Desmond - a real-time event attribution revisited. Environmental Research Letters, 13, pp. 024006.

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xi.  GJ van Oldenborgh, K van der Wiel, A Sebastian, R Singh, J Arrighi, FEL Otto, K Haustein, S Li, GA Vecchi, H Cullen (2017): Attribution of extreme rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, August 2017. Environmental Research Letters, 12, pp. 124009. Featured article.

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x. K van der Wiel, ST Gille, SG Llewellyn Smith, PF Linden, C Cenedese (2017): Characteristics of colliding sea breeze gravity current fronts: a laboratory study. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 143, pp. 1434-1441.

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ix. K van der Wiel, SB Kapnick, GJ van Oldenborgh, K Whan, S Philip, GA Vecchi, RK Singh, J Arrighi, H Cullen (2017): Rapid attribution of the August 2016 flood-inducing extreme precipitation in south Louisiana to climate change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21, pp. 897-921. Highlighted article.

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viii. K van der Wiel, SB Kapnick, GA Vecchi (2017): Shifting patterns of mild weather in response to projected radiative forcing. Climatic Change, 140, pp. 649-658.

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vii. K van der Wiel, SB Kapnick, GA Vecchi, WF Cooke, TL Delworth, L Jia, H Murakami, S Underwood, F Zeng (2016): The resolution dependence of contiguous U.S. precipitation extremes in response to CO2 forcing. Journal of Climate, 29, pp. 7991-8012.

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vi. MA Stiller-Reeve, C Heuzé, WT Ball, RH White, G Messori, K van der Wiel, I Medhaug, AH Eckes, A O'Callaghan, MJ Newland, SR Williams, M Kasoar, HE Wittmeier and V Kumer (2016): Improving together: better science writing through peer learning. Hydrology and Earth System Science, 20, pp. 2965-2973.

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v. K van der Wiel, AJ Matthews, MM Joshi, DP Stevens (2016): The influence of diabatic heating in the South Pacific Convergence Zone on Rossby wave propagation and the mean flow. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 142, pp. 901-910.

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iv. K van der Wiel, AJ Matthews, MM Joshi, DP Stevens (2016): Why the South Pacific Convergence Zone is diagonal. Climate Dynamics, 46, pp. 1683-1698.

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iii. K van der Wiel, AJ Matthews, DP Stevens, MM Joshi (2015): A dynamical framework for the origin of the diagonal South Pacific and South Atlantic Convergence Zones. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 141, pp. 1997-2010. Featured article.

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ii. MM Joshi, M Stringer, K van der Wiel, A O'Callaghan, S Fueglistaler (2015): IGCM4: A fast, parallel and flexible intermediate climate model. Geoscientific Model Development, 8, pp. 1157-1167.

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i. W Hazeleger, X Wang, C Severijns, S Ştefănescu, R Bintanja, A Sterl, K Wyser, T Semmler, S Yang, B van den Hurk, T van Noije, E van der Linden, K van der Wiel (2012): EC-Earth V2.2: description and validation of a new seamless earth system prediction model. Climate Dynamics, 39, pp. 2611-2629.

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Curriculum Vitae

A pdf-version of my C.V. is available here.


Dr Karin van der Wiel
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
Postbus 201
3730 AE De Bilt

Phone: +31 (0)30 2206 783
E-mail: wiel@knmi.nl

Google Scholar: list of publications
ResearchGate: personal profile
Twitter: karin_vdwiel