Recent Increases in Extreme Temperature Occurrence over Land

Monday, 15 December 2014
Scott J Weaver1, Arun Kumar1 and Mingyue Chen2, (1)NOAA/NCEP Climate Prediction Center, College Park, MD, United States, (2)NOAA Science Center, College Park, MD, United States
Recently observed global and U.S. temperature increases are probed from the perspective of several hundred climate realizations afforded by the availability of reforecast climate model runs from the NCEP Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2). The large number of seasonal realizations with the observed time varying CO2 affords a unique opportunity to explore the role of greenhouse gas changes on 3-month seasonal mean temperature increases, and specifically, whether they are the result of a shift in the mean temperature distribution or an increase in its variability.

It is found that significant positive shifts in the temperature Probability Density Function (PDF) occurs primarily as the result of the time varying CO2 included in the historical model runs, although a contribution from natural climate variability modes cannot be categorically excluded. The temperature PDF comparison further indicates that the increasing global and U.S. temperatures over the last 30 years are predominantly the result of shifts in the mean temperature distribution and not increasing temperature variability. As such, the likelihood of increases in the occurrence of warm temperature extremes will likely continue to increase worldwide, leading to significant impacts on many socioeconomic sectors such as agriculture and public health.