Projected changes in hot, dry and wet extreme events' clusters in CMIP6 multi-model ensemble

Authors: Martha M Vogel and Mathias Hauser and Sonia Isabelle Seneviratne
Journal: Environmental Research Letters
Year: 2020

Concurrent extreme events, i.e. multi-variate extremes, can be associated with strong impacts. Hence, an understanding of how such events are changing in a warming climate is helpful to avoid some associated climate change impacts and better prepare for them. In this article, we analyse the projected occurrence of hot, dry, and wet extreme events' clusters in the multi-model ensemble of the 6th phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). Changes in 'extreme extremes', i.e. events with only 1% probability of occurrence in the current climate are analysed, first as univariate extremes, and then when co-occurring with other types of extremes (i.e. events clusters) within the same week, month or year. The projections are analysed for present-day climate (+1 °C) and different levels of additional global warming (+1.5 °C, +2 °C, +3 °C). The results reveal substantial risk of occurrence of extreme events' clusters of different types across the globe at higher global warming levels. Hotspot regions for hot and dry clusters are mainly found in Brazil, i.e. in the Northeast and the Amazon rain forest, the Mediterranean region, and Southern Africa. Hotspot regions for wet and hot clusters are found in tropical Africa but also in the Sahel region, Indonesia, and in mountainous regions such as the Andes and the Himalaya.