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Title: Increasing spatiotemporal proximity of heat and precipitation extremes in a warming world quantified by a large model ensemble
Abstract Increases in climate hazards and their impacts mark one of the major challenges of climate change. Situations in which hazards occur close enough to one another to result in amplified impacts, because systems are insufficiently resilient or because hazards themselves are made more severe, are of special concern. We consider projected changes in such compounding hazards using the Max Planck Institute Grand Ensemble under a moderate (RCP4.5) emissions scenario, which produces warming of about 2.25 °C between pre-industrial (1851–1880) and 2100. We find that extreme heat events occurring on three or more consecutive days increase in frequency by 100%–300%, and consecutive extreme precipitation events increase in most regions, nearly doubling for some. The chance of concurrent heat and drought leading to simultaneous maize failures in three or more breadbasket regions approximately doubles, while interannual wet-dry oscillations become at least 20% more likely across much of the subtropics. Our results highlight the importance of taking compounding climate extremes into account when looking at possible tipping points of socio-environmental systems.
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Environmental Research Letters
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National Science Foundation
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