Temperature variability in a changing climate

Power, Scott and Nicholls, Neville (2007) Temperature variability in a changing climate. Australian Meteorological Magazine, 56 (2). pp. 105-110. ISSN 0004-9743


Here we examine probability density functions (PDFs) of temperature variability over multi-decadal periods under idealised global warming scenarios. Such PDFs are expected to be more useful to managers of infrastructure and systems with a finite multi-decadal lifetime, than would PDFs for a specific future year (2030 or 2100 say). We suppose that the PDF of temperature variability at any given time t1 > t0 retains its initial normally distributed shape, i.e. PDF(T(t = t0)), with the same standard deviation, but is shifted to the right by an amount μ = μ(t). We refer to each of these PDFs, valid for individual times, as the individual PDFs. The PDF representing variability over the entire period t0 ≤ t ≤ t1 and not just at some instant within this period, i.e. the aggregated PDF (APDF), is broader than the instantaneous PDF and so the range of temperatures experienced over a finite period is greater than in an unchanging climate. The APDF is normally distributed if warming occurs at a linear rate, but is skewed towards higher temperatures if warming accelerates over the period of interest. Changes in APDFs of Australian mean minimum temperatures are generally consistent with this simple conceptual model. Idealised warming in which the variance of the individual PDFs increases is also considered. Popular conceptual models of the impact of global warming on temperature variability are relevant for instantaneous rather than aggregated PDFs. Such models neglect the straight-forward but important issues that arise when finite periods and non-linear warming rates are considered.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2022 04:46
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 04:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; global warming; probability density function; temperature anomaly
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960310 Global Effects of Climate Change and Variability (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) ""
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190507 Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts)
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/44862

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