Changes in weather and climate extremes: Phenomenology and empirical approaches

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The terms "weather extremes" and "climate extremes" are widely used in meteorology, often in relation to climate change. This paper reviews the empirical investigations into parallel changes in extreme events and climate change published in recent years and looks at their relevance for the global energy system. Empirical investigation into the correlation of extremes with global warming covers five groups: changes in temperature, precipitation, wind (storm) extremes, tropical and extra-tropical circulation phenomena. For temperature extremes, extensive analyses demonstrate that extreme hot days and nights will likely become more frequent, and extreme cold days and nights less frequent. Intense precipitation events will likely become more frequent in most continental regions. Scientific confidence in the trends of the frequency, duration, and intensity of tropical cyclones, is still low. A poleward shift is observed for extratropical cyclones, whereas no convincing tendencies of many smaller-scale phenomena, for example, tornados, or hail, can yet be detected. All these extremes have serious implications for the energy sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science

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