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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Projected changes in extreme temperature events based on the NARCCAP model suite

Authors:

Radley Horton

Ethan Coffel

Jonathan Winter

Daniel Bader

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2015
Secondary Title:
Geophysical Research Letters
DOI:
10.1002/2015GL064914
Pages:
7722-7731
Volume:
42
Year:
2015
Date:
2015

Abstract

Once-per-year (annual) maximum temperature extremes in North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) models are projected to increase more (less) than mean daily maximum summer temperatures over much of the eastern (western) United States. In contrast, the models almost everywhere project greater warming of once-per-year minimum temperatures as compared to mean daily minimum winter temperatures. Under projected changes associated with extremes of the temperature distribution, Baltimore's maximum temperature that was met or exceeded once per year historically is projected to occur 17 times per season by midcentury, a 28% increase relative to projections based on summer mean daily maximum temperature change. Under the same approach, historical once-per-year cold events in Baltimore are projected to occur once per decade. The models are generally able to capture observed geopotential height anomalies associated with temperature extremes in two subregions. Projected changes in extreme temperature events cannot be explained by geopotential height anomalies or lower boundary conditions as reflected by soil moisture anomalies or snow water equivalent.