AbstractIntensifying climate extremes are one of the major concerns with climate change. Using 100-year (1911-2010) daily temperature and precipitation records worldwide, 28 indices of extreme temperature and precipitation are calculated. A similarity percentage analysis is used to identify the key indices for distinguishing how extreme warm and cold years (annual temperature > the 90th and < the 10th percentile of the 100-year distribution, respectively) differ from one another and from average years, and how extreme wet and dry years (annual precipitation > the 90th and < the 10th percentile of the 100-year distribution, respectively) differ from each other and from average years. The analysis suggests that extreme warm years are primarily distinguished from average and extreme cold years by higher occurrence of warm nights (annual counts when night temperature > 90th percentile), which occur about six more counts in extreme warm years compared with average years. Extreme wet years are mainly distinguished from average and extreme dry years by more occurrences of heavy precipitation events (events ≥ 10 mm and ≥ 20 mm). Compared with average years, heavy events occur 60% more in extreme wet years and 50% less in extreme dry year. These indices consistently differ between extreme and average years across terrestrial ecoregions globally. These key indices need to be considered when analyzing climate model projections and designing climate change experiments that focus on ecosystem response to climate extremes.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 20, 2017
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