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Title: Past and future climate change in the context of memorable seasonal extremes

Abstract

It is thought that direct personal experience of extreme weather events could result in greater public engagement and policy response to climate change. Based on this premise, we present a set of future climate scenarios for Ireland communicated in the context of recent, observed extremes. Specifically, we examine the changing likelihood of extreme seasonal conditions in the long-term observational record, and explore how frequently such extremes might occur in a changed Irish climate according to the latest model projections. Over the period (1900–2014) records suggest a greater than 50-fold increase in the likelihood of the warmest recorded summer (1995), whilst the likelihood of the wettest winter (1994/95) and driest summer (1995) has respectively doubled since 1850. The most severe end-of-century climate model projections suggest that summers as cool as 1995 may only occur once every ~7 years, whilst winters as wet as 1994/95 and summers as dry as 1995 may increase by factors of ~8 and ~10 respectively. Contrary to previous research, we find no evidence for increased wintertime storminess as the Irish climate warms, but caution that this conclusion may be an artefact of the metric employed. It is hoped that framing future climate scenarios in the context ofmore » extremes from living memory will help communicate the scale of the challenge climate change presents, and in so doing bridge the gap between climate scientists and wider society.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1567541
DOE Contract Number:  
2014-CCRP-MS.16
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Climate Risk Management
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2212-0963
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Irish climate change projections; Seasonal analogues; North Atlantic storminess; CMIP5; Extreme seasonal weather; Climate change communication

Citation Formats

Matthews, T., Mullan, D., Wilby, R. L., Broderick, C., and Murphy, C. Past and future climate change in the context of memorable seasonal extremes. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.crm.2016.01.004.
Matthews, T., Mullan, D., Wilby, R. L., Broderick, C., & Murphy, C. Past and future climate change in the context of memorable seasonal extremes. United States. doi:10.1016/j.crm.2016.01.004.
Matthews, T., Mullan, D., Wilby, R. L., Broderick, C., and Murphy, C. Fri . "Past and future climate change in the context of memorable seasonal extremes". United States. doi:10.1016/j.crm.2016.01.004.
@article{osti_1567541,
title = {Past and future climate change in the context of memorable seasonal extremes},
author = {Matthews, T. and Mullan, D. and Wilby, R. L. and Broderick, C. and Murphy, C.},
abstractNote = {It is thought that direct personal experience of extreme weather events could result in greater public engagement and policy response to climate change. Based on this premise, we present a set of future climate scenarios for Ireland communicated in the context of recent, observed extremes. Specifically, we examine the changing likelihood of extreme seasonal conditions in the long-term observational record, and explore how frequently such extremes might occur in a changed Irish climate according to the latest model projections. Over the period (1900–2014) records suggest a greater than 50-fold increase in the likelihood of the warmest recorded summer (1995), whilst the likelihood of the wettest winter (1994/95) and driest summer (1995) has respectively doubled since 1850. The most severe end-of-century climate model projections suggest that summers as cool as 1995 may only occur once every ~7 years, whilst winters as wet as 1994/95 and summers as dry as 1995 may increase by factors of ~8 and ~10 respectively. Contrary to previous research, we find no evidence for increased wintertime storminess as the Irish climate warms, but caution that this conclusion may be an artefact of the metric employed. It is hoped that framing future climate scenarios in the context of extremes from living memory will help communicate the scale of the challenge climate change presents, and in so doing bridge the gap between climate scientists and wider society.},
doi = {10.1016/j.crm.2016.01.004},
journal = {Climate Risk Management},
issn = {2212-0963},
number = C,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {1}
}