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Warming trends in summer heatwaves

Chapman, S.C., Watkins, Nicholas W. ORCID: 0000-0003-4484-6588 and Stainforth, David A. ORCID: 0000-0001-6476-733X (2019) Warming trends in summer heatwaves. Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (3). pp. 1634-1640. ISSN 0094-8276

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Identification Number: 10.1029/2018GL081004


The frequency and severity of heatwaves is expected to increase as the global climate warms. We apply crossing theory for the first time to determine heatwave properties solely from the distribution of daily observations without time-correlation information. We use Central England Temperature time series to quantify how the simple increased occurrence of higher temperatures makes heatwaves (consecutive summer days with temperatures exceeding a threshold) more frequent and intense. We find an overall twofold to threefold increase in heatwave activity since the late 1800's. Week-long heatwaves that on average return every 5 years were typically below ∼28 ◦C and now typically exceed it. Our analysis takes as inputs average user-specific heat wave properties. Its output pinpoints the range of temperatures for which changes in the distribution must be well resolved statistically in order to track how these heatwave properties are changing. This provides a quantitative benchmark for models used for the attribution of heat waves.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Analysis of Time Series
Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2019 15:30
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2024 02:36

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