AbstractProjected changes in temperature extremes, such as regional changes in the intensity and frequency of hot extremes differ strongly across climate models. We show that this disagreement can be partly explained by discrepancies in the representation of the present-day temperature distribution, motivating evaluation of models with observations. By evaluating models on carefully selected metrics, we identified models that are more likely to be reliable for long-term projections of temperature extremes. We found that frequencies of hot extremes are likely to increase at a higher rate than the multi-model mean estimate over large parts of the Northern Hemisphere and Australia. This implies that a higher degree of adaptation is required for a given global temperature target. We also find that projected changes in the intensity of hot extremes can be constrained in several regions including Australia, Central North America and North Asia. In many other regions, large internal variability can often hamper model evaluation. For both aspects, the intensity and the frequency of hot extremes, the total area over which the constraints can be implemented is limited by the quality and completeness of observations. Thereby, this study highlights the importance of long-term high quality and easily accessible observational records for model evaluation that are vital to ultimately reduce uncertainties in projections of temperature extremes.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 27, 2017
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