Computer Models Agree: More Temperature Extremes, Dramatic Precipitation in Our Future
October 19, 2006
The summer heat waves, prolonged droughts and heavy rainfall events that have occurred
across much of the U.S. and Europe over the past few years are a preview of what we
can expect in the future thanks to climate change, according to one Texas Tech University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Oct. 19, 2006
CONTACT: John Davis, email@example.com
LUBBOCK – The summer heat waves, prolonged droughts and heavy rainfall events that
have occurred across much of the U.S. and Europe over the past few years are a preview
of what we can expect in the future thanks to climate change, according to one Texas
Tech University researcher.
Katharine Hayhoe, a research associate professor in the Department of Geosciences
at Texas Tech, says the amount of change likely to occur will depend on the amount
of emissions of heat-trapping gases from human activities.
The study documenting the forecast for the planet’s future, a product of collaborations
with three other researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in
Boulder, Colo. and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, will appear in the December
issue of the journal Climatic Change.
The researchers studied only extreme temperature and precipitation conditions for
the future – meaning the very cold and hot days, the dry periods and the heavy downpours
– and found that these weather events in the future are likely to become even more
extreme, thanks to carbon dioxide emissions.
“As temperatures warm, we’re likely to have more frequent heat waves, which can affect
our health and energy use,” Hayhoe said. “We also found that warming temperatures
will mean more extreme precipitation events and more frequent dry periods across much
of the Northern Hemisphere.”
Weather extremes are often economically damaging, spelling financial losses in agriculture
and infrastructure as well as affecting energy demand and human health risks.
“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.”
Hayhoe said this is one of the first studies to draw on the extensive and sophisticated
climate modeling that will form the basis of the upcoming Fourth Assessment Report
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC is a commission established
by the United Nations that assesses the latest scientific, technical and socioeconomic
research to understand the risks of human-induced climate change.
For a PDF copy of Going to the Extremes: An intercomparison of model-simulated historical
and future changes in extreme events, please contact John Davis at (806) 742-2136
CONTACT: Katharine Hayhoe, research associate professor, Department of Geosciences,
Texas Tech University, (806) 742-0015, or firstname.lastname@example.org.