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Title: Final Technical Report for DE-SC0005467

The objective of this project is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the key atmospheric mechanisms and physical processes associated with temperature extremes in order to better interpret and constrain uncertainty in climate model simulations of future extreme temperatures. To achieve this objective, we first used climate observations and a reanalysis product to identify the key atmospheric circulation patterns associated with extreme temperature days over North America during the late twentieth century. We found that temperature extremes were associated with distinctive signatures in near-surface and mid-tropospheric circulation. The orientations and spatial scales of these circulation anomalies vary with latitude, season, and proximity to important geographic features such as mountains and coastlines. We next examined the associations between daily and monthly temperature extremes and large-scale, recurrent modes of climate variability, including the Pacific-North American (PNA) pattern, the northern annular mode (NAM), and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The strength of the associations are strongest with the PNA and NAM and weaker for ENSO, and also depend upon season, time scale, and location. The associations are stronger in winter than summer, stronger for monthly than daily extremes, and stronger in the vicinity of the centers of action of the PNA and NAMmore » patterns. In the final stage of this project, we compared climate model simulations of the circulation patterns associated with extreme temperature days over North America with those obtained from observations. Using a variety of metrics and self-organizing maps, we found the multi-model ensemble and the majority of individual models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) generally capture the observed patterns well, including their strength and as well as variations with latitude and season. The results from this project indicate that current models are capable of simulating the large-scale meteorological patterns associated with daily temperature extremes and they suggest that such models can be used to evaluate the extent to which changes in atmospheric circulation will influence future changes in temperature extremes.« less
  1. Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES climate change; climate extremes