Thursday, April 28, 2016

Historically Hottest Summers Projected to Be the Norm for More Than Half of the World's Population Within 20 Years

Figure 3. Year beyond which the probability of hot summers is larger than 50% (top) and 90% (bottom) estimated from observationally constrained reconstructions based on RCP4.5 (left) and RCP8.5 (right) simulations ... Note that the years are determined from the reconstructions combining past and future simulations, and if a date before 2013 is shown, it has been determined from historical simulations. Click to Enlarge.
We project that within the next two decades, half of the world's population will regularly (every second summer on average) experience regional summer mean temperatures that exceed those of the historically hottest summer, even under the moderate RCP4.5 emissions pathway.  This frequency threshold for hot temperatures over land, which have adverse effects on human health, society and economy, might be broached in little more than a decade under the RCP8.5 emissions pathway.  These hot summer frequency projections are based on adjusted RCP4.5 and 8.5 temperature projections, where the adjustments are performed with scaling factors determined by regularized optimal fingerprinting analyzes that compare historical model simulations with observations over the period 1950–2012.  A temperature reconstruction technique is then used to simulate a multitude of possible past and future temperature evolutions, from which the probability of a hot summer is determined for each region, with a hot summer being defined as the historically warmest summer on record in that region.  Probabilities with and without external forcing show that hot summers are now about ten times more likely (fraction of attributable risk 0.9) in many regions of the world than they would have been in the absence of past greenhouse gas increases.  The adjusted future projections suggest that the Mediterranean, Sahara, large parts of Asia and the Western US and Canada will be among the first regions for which hot summers will become the norm (i.e. occur on average every other year), and that this will occur within the next 1–2 decades.

Read more at Historically Hottest Summers Projected to Be the Norm for More Than Half of the World's Population Within 20 Years

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