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  • Diffenbaugh, N.S. and M. Scherer, 2011: Observational and model evidence for global emergence of unprecedented heat in the 20th and 21st centuries. Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0112-y.

Given the severe impacts of extreme heat on natural and human systems,
we attempt to quantify the likelihood that rising greenhouse gas concentrations will
result in a new, permanent heat regime in which the coolest warm-season of the 21st
century is hotter than the hottest warm-season of the late 20th century. Our analyses
of global climatemodel experiments and observational data reveal that many areas of
the globe are likely to permanently move into such a climate space over the next four
decades, should greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase. In contrast to
the common perception that high-latitude areas face the most accelerated response
to global warming, our results demonstrate that in fact tropical areas exhibit the most
immediate and robust emergence of unprecedented heat, with many tropical areas
exhibiting a 50% likelihood of permanentlymoving into a novel seasonal heat regime
in the next two decades. We also find that global climate models are able to capture
the observed intensification of seasonal hot conditions, increasing confidence in the
projection of imminent, permanent emergence of unprecedented heat.

Full Article: http://www.springerlink.com/content/l2371617777412kp/fulltext.pdf

Last Updated: 2011-06-24

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