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Title: A storyline view of the projected role of remote drivers on summer air stagnation in Europe and the United States

Storylines of atmospheric circulation change, or physically self-consistent narratives of plausible future events, have recently been proposed as a non-probabilistic means to represent uncertainties in climate change projections. Here, we apply the storyline approach to 21st century projections of summer air stagnation over Europe and the United States. We use a Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) ensemble to generate stagnation storylines based on the forced response of three remote drivers of the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude atmospheric circulation: North Atlantic warming, North Pacific warming, and tropical versus Arctic warming. Under a high radiative forcing scenario (SSP5-8.5), models consistently project increases in stagnation over Europe and the U.S., but the magnitude and spatial distribution of changes vary substantially across CMIP6 ensemble members, suggesting that future projections are not well-constrained when using the ensemble mean alone. We find that the diversity of projected stagnation changes depends on the forced response of remote drivers in individual models. This is especially true in Europe, where differences of ∼2 summer stagnant days per degree of global warming are found amongst the different storyline combinations. For example, the greatest projected increase in stagnation for most European regions leads to the smallest increase in stagnation more » for southwestern Europe; i.e. limited North Atlantic warming combined with near-equitable tropical and Arctic warming. In the U.S., only the atmosphere over the northern Rocky Mountain states demonstrates comparable stagnation projection uncertainty, due to opposite influences of remote drivers on the meteorological conditions that lead to stagnation.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 014026
IOP Publishing
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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