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Title: Higher CO 2 concentrations increase extreme event risk in a 1.5 °C world

Abstract

The Paris Agreement aims to ‘pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.’ However, it has been suggested that temperature targets alone are insufficient to limit the risks associated with anthropogenic emissions. Here, using an ensemble of model simulations, we show that atmospheric CO 2 increase—an even more predictable consequence of emissions than global temperature increase—has a significant direct impact on Northern Hemisphere summer temperature, heat stress, and tropical precipitation extremes. Hence in an iterative climate mitigation regime aiming solely for a specific temperature goal, an unexpectedly low climate response may have corresponding ‘dangerous’ changes in extreme events. The direct impact of higher CO 2 concentrations on climate extremes therefore substantially reduces the upper bound of the carbon budget, and highlights the need to explicitly limit atmospheric CO2 concentration when formulating allowable emissions. Thus, complementing global mean temperature goals with explicit limits on atmospheric CO 2 concentrations in future climate policy would limit the adverse effects of high-impact weather extremes.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [5]; ORCiD logo [6]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  2. Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom); Univ. of Melbourne (Australia); Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Melbourne, VIC (Australia)
  3. Swiss Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland)
  4. Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom); Swiss Federal Inst. of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland)
  5. Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)
  6. National Inst. for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba (Japan)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC); Univ. of California, Oakland, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1543757
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Climate Change
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1758-678X
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences

Citation Formats

Baker, Hugh S., Millar, Richard J., Karoly, David J., Beyerle, Urs, Guillod, Benoit P., Mitchell, Dann, Shiogama, Hideo, Sparrow, Sarah, Woollings, Tim, and Allen, Myles R. Higher CO2 concentrations increase extreme event risk in a 1.5 °C world. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0190-1.
Baker, Hugh S., Millar, Richard J., Karoly, David J., Beyerle, Urs, Guillod, Benoit P., Mitchell, Dann, Shiogama, Hideo, Sparrow, Sarah, Woollings, Tim, & Allen, Myles R. Higher CO2 concentrations increase extreme event risk in a 1.5 °C world. United States. doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0190-1.
Baker, Hugh S., Millar, Richard J., Karoly, David J., Beyerle, Urs, Guillod, Benoit P., Mitchell, Dann, Shiogama, Hideo, Sparrow, Sarah, Woollings, Tim, and Allen, Myles R. Mon . "Higher CO2 concentrations increase extreme event risk in a 1.5 °C world". United States. doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0190-1. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1543757.
@article{osti_1543757,
title = {Higher CO2 concentrations increase extreme event risk in a 1.5 °C world},
author = {Baker, Hugh S. and Millar, Richard J. and Karoly, David J. and Beyerle, Urs and Guillod, Benoit P. and Mitchell, Dann and Shiogama, Hideo and Sparrow, Sarah and Woollings, Tim and Allen, Myles R.},
abstractNote = {The Paris Agreement aims to ‘pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.’ However, it has been suggested that temperature targets alone are insufficient to limit the risks associated with anthropogenic emissions. Here, using an ensemble of model simulations, we show that atmospheric CO2 increase—an even more predictable consequence of emissions than global temperature increase—has a significant direct impact on Northern Hemisphere summer temperature, heat stress, and tropical precipitation extremes. Hence in an iterative climate mitigation regime aiming solely for a specific temperature goal, an unexpectedly low climate response may have corresponding ‘dangerous’ changes in extreme events. The direct impact of higher CO2 concentrations on climate extremes therefore substantially reduces the upper bound of the carbon budget, and highlights the need to explicitly limit atmospheric CO2 concentration when formulating allowable emissions. Thus, complementing global mean temperature goals with explicit limits on atmospheric CO2 concentrations in future climate policy would limit the adverse effects of high-impact weather extremes.},
doi = {10.1038/s41558-018-0190-1},
journal = {Nature Climate Change},
number = 7,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {6}
}

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Exceedance of heat index thresholds for 15 regions under a warming climate using the wet-bulb globe temperature
    journal, December 2010

    • Willett, Katharine M.; Sherwood, Steven
    • International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 32, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.1002/joc.2257

    weather@home-development and validation of a very large ensemble modelling system for probabilistic event attribution: weather@home
    journal, October 2014

    • Massey, N.; Jones, R.; Otto, F. E. L.
    • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 141, Issue 690
    • DOI: 10.1002/qj.2455

    Abrupt summer warming and changes in temperature extremes over Northeast Asia since the mid-1990s: Drivers and physical processes
    journal, July 2016


    The impact of new physical parametrizations in the Hadley Centre climate model: HadAM3
    journal, February 2000

    • Pope, V. D.; Gallani, M. L.; Rowntree, P. R.
    • Climate Dynamics, Vol. 16, Issue 2-3
    • DOI: 10.1007/s003820050009

    The simulation of SST, sea ice extents and ocean heat transports in a version of the Hadley Centre coupled model without flux adjustments
    journal, February 2000


    Intensification of future severe heat waves in India and their effect on heat stress and mortality
    journal, August 2014

    • Murari, Kamal Kumar; Ghosh, Subimal; Patwardhan, Anand
    • Regional Environmental Change, Vol. 15, Issue 4
    • DOI: 10.1007/s10113-014-0660-6

    Pattern scaling: Its strengths and limitations, and an update on the latest model simulations
    journal, January 2014


    Do-it-yourself climate prediction
    journal, October 1999


    Allowable carbon emissions lowered by multiple climate targets
    journal, July 2013

    • Steinacher, Marco; Joos, Fortunat; Stocker, Thomas F.
    • Nature, Vol. 499, Issue 7457
    • DOI: 10.1038/nature12269

    Allowable CO2 emissions based on regional and impact-related climate targets
    journal, January 2016

    • Seneviratne, Sonia I.; Donat, Markus G.; Pitman, Andy J.
    • Nature, Vol. 529, Issue 7587
    • DOI: 10.1038/nature16542

    Robust projections of combined humidity and temperature extremes
    journal, September 2012


    No pause in the increase of hot temperature extremes
    journal, February 2014

    • Seneviratne, Sonia I.; Donat, Markus G.; Mueller, Brigitte
    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 4, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2145

    Dominant role of greenhouse-gas forcing in the recovery of Sahel rainfall
    journal, June 2015


    Realizing the impacts of a 1.5 °C warmer world
    journal, June 2016

    • Mitchell, Daniel; James, Rachel; Forster, Piers M.
    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3055

    Science and policy characteristics of the Paris Agreement temperature goal
    journal, July 2016

    • Schleussner, Carl-Friedrich; Rogelj, Joeri; Schaeffer, Michiel
    • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, Issue 9
    • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3096

    Robust direct effect of carbon dioxide on tropical circulation and regional precipitation
    journal, April 2013

    • Bony, Sandrine; Bellon, Gilles; Klocke, Daniel
    • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 6, Issue 6
    • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1799

    Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C
    journal, September 2017

    • Millar, Richard J.; Fuglestvedt, Jan S.; Friedlingstein, Pierre
    • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 10, Issue 10
    • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo3031

    Humid heat waves at different warming levels
    journal, August 2017


    An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress
    journal, May 2010

    • Sherwood, S. C.; Huber, M.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 107, Issue 21
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0913352107

    Cost of preventing workplace heat-related illness through worker breaks and the benefit of climate-change mitigation
    journal, May 2017

    • Takakura, Jun’ya; Fujimori, Shinichiro; Takahashi, Kiyoshi
    • Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 12, Issue 6
    • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa72cc

    Implications of possible interpretations of ‘greenhouse gas balance’ in the Paris Agreement
    journal, April 2018

    • Fuglestvedt, J.; Rogelj, J.; Millar, R. J.
    • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 376, Issue 2119
    • DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0445

    Deadly heat waves projected in the densely populated agricultural regions of South Asia
    journal, August 2017

    • Im, Eun-Soon; Pal, Jeremy S.; Eltahir, Elfatih A. B.
    • Science Advances, Vol. 3, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603322

    More Intense, More Frequent, and Longer Lasting Heat Waves in the 21st Century
    journal, August 2004


    Design and Analysis of Climate Model Experiments for the Efficient Estimation of Anthropogenic Signals
    journal, May 2003


    Observed coherent changes in climatic extremes during the second half of the twentieth century
    journal, January 2002

    • Frich, P.; Alexander, Lv; Della-Marta, P.
    • Climate Research, Vol. 19
    • DOI: 10.3354/cr019193

    Community climate simulations to assess avoided impacts in 1.5 and 2  °C futures
    journal, January 2017

    • Sanderson, Benjamin M.; Xu, Yangyang; Tebaldi, Claudia
    • Earth System Dynamics, Vol. 8, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.5194/esd-8-827-2017

    weather@home 2: validation of an improved global–regional climate modelling system
    journal, January 2017

    • Guillod, Benoit P.; Jones, Richard G.; Bowery, Andy
    • Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 10, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.5194/gmd-10-1849-2017

    Half a degree additional warming, prognosis and projected impacts (HAPPI): background and experimental design
    journal, January 2017

    • Mitchell, Daniel; AchutaRao, Krishna; Allen, Myles
    • Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 10, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.5194/gmd-10-571-2017