Extreme temperatures in the U.S: Analysis of downscaled CMIP5 model simulations with different emission scenarios

Friday, 19 December 2014
Leo Yu, Kevin Li, Pierre Glaize and Eugene Cordero, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, United States
Over the last several decades, an important area in climate change studies has focused on regional weather and climate extreme events because of their large social and economic consequences. In this study, downscaled Coupled-Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) model simulations have been used to examine regional heat-wave extreme events in the continental U.S. over the last 55 years (i.e., 1950 – 2005) and into the future (i.e., 2005 – 2100). Model runs using various emission scenarios have been used to explore how extremes in maximum and minimum temperatures will change in California over the next few decades. Various statistical analyses have been employed to select the most appropriate models to study future heat waves in California. The purpose of the study is twofold: first, to compare different CMIP5 models’ ability to simulate the historical frequency of extreme temperature events in California and second, to investigate the impacts of future heat wave trends in California with different emission scenarios. We believe our study will help to provide useful information and guidance for both policy makers and stakeholders on potential future changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme temperature events.