Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Expect a Warmer, Wetter World this Century, Computer Models Agree

23.10.2006
Recent episodes of deadly heat in the United States and Europe, long dry spells across the U.S. West, and heavy bursts of rain and snow across much of North America and Eurasia hint at longer-term changes to come, according to a new study based on several of the world's most advanced climate models.
Much of the world will face an enhanced risk of heat waves, intense precipitation, and other weather extremes, conclude scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Texas Tech University, and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre.

The new study, "Going to the Extremes," will appear in the December issue of the journal Climatic Change.

Many previous studies have looked at how average temperature or rainfall might change in the next century as greenhouse gases increase. However, the new research looks more specifically at how weather extremes could change.

"It's the extremes, not the averages, that cause the most damage to society and to many ecosystems," says NCAR scientist Claudia Tebaldi, lead author for the report. "We now have the first model-based consensus on how the risk of dangerous heat waves, intense rains, and other kinds of extreme weather will change in the next century."

The study is one of the first analyses to draw on extensive and sophisticated computer modeling recently carried out for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC's next assessment report will be released early in 2007.

Tebaldi and colleagues based their work on simulations from nine different climate models for the periods 1980–1999 and 2080–2099. The simulations were created on supercomputers at research centers in France, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Each model simulated the 2080-2099 interval three times, varying the extent to which greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere. These three scenarios were used to account for uncertainty over how fast society may act to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over coming decades.

From the model output, the scientists computed 10 different indices of climate extremes, with 5 related to temperature and 5 to moisture. For instance, a frost days index measures how many days per year temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while a dry days index measures the length of each year's longest consecutive string of days without rain or snow. Because the impact of a given index can be stronger in one climatic zone than another, the authors expressed the results in terms of statistical significance at each location.

For all three greenhouse-gas scenarios, the models agree that by 2080-2099:

  • The number of extremely warm nights and the length of heat waves will increase significantly over nearly all land areas across the globe. During heat waves, very warm nights are often associated with fatalities because people and buildings have less chance to cool down overnight.
  • Most areas above about 40 degrees north will see a significant jump in the number of days with heavy precipitation (days with more than 0.40 inches). This includes the northern tier of U.S. states, Canada, and most of Europe.
  • Dry spells could lengthen significantly across the western United States, southern Europe, eastern Brazil, and several other areas. Dry spells are one of several factors in producing and intensifying droughts.
  • The average growing season could increase significantly across most of North America and Eurasia.

Most of these trends are significantly weaker for the lowest-emission scenario than for the moderate and high-emission scenarios. Thus, the authors add, lowering the output of greenhouse gases over the next century should reduce the risk that the most severe changes will occur.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR's primary sponsor, as well as by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.

About the article
Title: "Going to the Extremes: An intercomparison of model-simulated historical and future changes in extreme events"

Author: Claudia Tebaldi, Katharine Hayhoe, Julie M. Arblaster, and Gerald A. Meehl

Publication: Climatic Change, December 2006

David Hosansky | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/wetterworld.shtml

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>