AbstractThis study provides a first quantification of possible benefits of global warming mitigation through heat stress reduction over East Asia by comparing projection results between low-emission and high-emission scenarios, as well as between 1.5° and 2.0°C target temperature conditions. Future changes in summer heat stress over East Asia were examined based on the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) using CMIP5 multimodel simulations. Changes in the intensity, frequency, and duration of heat stress were analyzed in terms of area fraction across RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5 scenarios and also between two selected model groups representing 1.5°- and 2.0°C-warmer worlds. Severe heat stress, exceeding the 50-yr return value of the present-day period, is expected to become very frequent, occurring every second year over the large part of East Asia by the 2040s, irrespective of RCP scenarios. The frequency of extreme daily heat stress events is predicted to increase in a similar speed of expansion, with signals emerging from the low latitudes. The WBGT signal emergence is found to be much faster than that of corresponding temperature alone due to the smaller variability in WBGT, supporting previous findings. The 1.5°C-warmer world would have about 20% reduction in areas experiencing severe heat stress over East Asia, compared to the 2.0°C-warmer world, with significant changes identified over the low latitudes. Further, compared to the transient world, the equilibrium world exhibits larger increases in heat stress over East Asia, likely due to the warmer ocean surface in the northwestern North Pacific. This suggests an important role of ocean warming patterns in the regional assessment of global warming mitigation.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Apr 4, 2018
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