Circulation analogues and uncertainty in the time‑evolution of extreme event probabilities: evidence from the 1947 Central European heatwave

Harrington, Luke J. and Otto, Friederike E. L. and Cowan, Tim and Hegerl, Gabriele C. (2019) Circulation analogues and uncertainty in the time‑evolution of extreme event probabilities: evidence from the 1947 Central European heatwave. Climate Dynamics. pp. 1-19. ISSN 0930-7575

Abstract

The science of extreme event attribution has rapidly expanded in recent years, with numerous studies dedicated to determining whether and to what extent anthropogenic climate change has increased the likelihood of specific extreme weather events occurring. However, the majority of such studies have focussed on extreme events which have occurred in the recent past (usually within the past 10 years) while minimal research efforts have considered the multitude of high-impact extreme climatic events which occurred throughout the instrumental record. This study proposes a framework to quantify how the likelihood of witnessing meteorological characteristics reminiscent of the 1947 Central European heatwave have evolved over time. We specifically examine circulation analogues as a tool to understand the relative role of dynamical and thermodynamic contributions to changes in the probability of experiencing similar heatwave events. Using a reanalysis-based dataset, our results show changes in the frequency of 1947-like extreme heat throughout the twentieth century to be highly sensitive to methodological choices, particularly in the context of disaggregating dynamic and thermodynamic changes in the risk of extreme heat. Evidence also suggests clear decadal variability in the occurrence of circulation patterns conducive to the 1947 heatwaves. Finally, we discuss how to appropriately consider the time-evolution of attribution statements, as well as the broader limitations of employing circulation analogues as a method to interrogate the dynamical contribution to the probability ratio of an extreme event.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 36576
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 24 May 2019. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2019 03:31
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 06:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: circulation analogues; heatwaves; extreme weather events; signal-to-noise ratios; climate change
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040102 Atmospheric Dynamics
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s00382-019-04820-2
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36576

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only