Acceleration of daily land temperature extremes and correlations with surface energy fluxes

Huntingford, Chris ORCID:; Cox, Peter M.; Ritchie, Paul D.L.; Clarke, Joseph J.; Parry, Isobel M.; Williamson, Mark S.. 2024 Acceleration of daily land temperature extremes and correlations with surface energy fluxes. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, 7, 84. 10, pp.

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Assessment of climate reanalysis data for land (ECMWF Re-Analysis v5; ERA5-Land) covering the last seven decades reveals regions where extreme daily mean temperatures are rising faster than the average rate of temperature rise of the 6 months of highest background warmth. However, such extreme temperature acceleration is very heterogeneous, occurring only in some places including regions of Europe, the western part of North America, parts of southeast Asia and much of South America. An ensemble average of Earth System Models (ESMs) over the same period also shows acceleration across land areas, but this enhancement is much more spatially uniform in the models than it is for ERA5-Land. Examination of projections from now to the end of the 21st Century, with ESMs driven by the highest emissions Shared Socio-economic Pathway scenario (SSP585) of future changes to atmospheric greenhouse gases, also reveals larger warming during extreme days for most land areas. The increase in high-temperature extremes is driven by different processes depending on location. In northern mid-latitudes, a key driver is often a decrease in the evaporative fraction of the available energy, consistent with soil drying. By contrast, the acceleration of high-temperature extremes in tropical Africa is primarily due to increased available energy. These two drivers combine via the surface energy balance to equal the sensible heat flux, which we find is often strongly correlated with the areas where the acceleration of high-temperature extremes is largest.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2397-3722
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: climate and earth system modelling, governance, projection and prediction
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Meteorology and Climatology
Data and Information
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Date made live: 05 Apr 2024 14:01 +0 (UTC)

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