Climate change: No warming hiatus for extreme hot temperatures
(February 26, 2014) — While there are claims that there has been a hiatus in global average temperatures, no such hiatus has occurred at the extreme end of the temperature spectrum. New research shows extremely hot temperatures over land have dramatically and unequivocally increased in number and area despite claims that the rise in global average temperatures has slowed over the past 10 to 20 years. … “It quickly became clear, the ‘hiatus’ in global average temperatures did not stop the rise in the number, intensity and area of extremely hot days,” said one of the paper’s authors, Dr Lisa Alexander. “Our research has found a steep upward tendency in the temperatures and number of extremely hot days over land and the area they impact, despite the complete absence of a strong El Niño since 1998.” The researchers examined the extreme end of the temperature spectrum because this is where global warming impacts are expected to occur first and are most clearly felt. As Australians saw this summer and the last, extreme temperatures in inhabited areas have powerful impacts on our society.
The observations also showed that extremely hot events are now affecting, on average, more than twice the area when compared to similar events 30 years ago….”It is important when we take global warming into account, that we use measures that are useful in determining the impacts on our society,” said Professor Sonia Seneviratne from ETH Zurich, who led the study while on sabbatical at the ARC Centre. “Global average temperatures are a useful measurement for researchers but it is at the extremes where we will most likely find those impacts that directly affect all of our lives. Clearly, we are seeing more heat extremes over land more often as a result of enhanced greenhouse gas warming.”…> full story
Sonia I. Seneviratne, Markus G. Donat, Brigitte Mueller, Lisa V. Alexander. No pause in the increase of hot temperature extremes. Nature Climate Change, 2014; 4 (3): 161 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2145
By Joe Romm on February 26, 2014
The number of very hot days have soared in the past 15 years, a new study finds. Based on observations, the authors conclude that “the term pause, as applied to the recent evolution of global annual mean temperatures, is ill-chosen and even misleading in the context of climate change.”