Anthropogenically-driven increases in the risks of summertime compound hot extremes

Jun Wang, Simon Tett, Zhongwei Yan, Panmao Zhai, Jinming Feng, Jiangiang Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Compared to individual hot days/nights, compound hot extremes that combine daytime and nighttime heat are more impactful. However, past and future changes in compound hot extremes as well as their underlying drivers and societal impacts remain poorly understood. Here we show that during 1960–2012, significant increases in Northern Hemisphere average frequency (~1.03 days decade−1) and intensity (~0.28 °C decade−1) of summertime compound hot extremes arise primarily from summer-mean warming. The forcing of rising greenhouse gases (GHGs) is robustly detected and largely accounts for observed trends. Observationally-constrained projections suggest an approximate eightfold increase in hemispheric-average frequency and a threefold growth in intensity of summertime compound hot extremes by 2100 (relative to 2012), given uncurbed GHG emissions. Accordingly, end-of-century population exposure to compound hot extremes is projected to be four to eight times the 2010s level, dependent on demographic and climate scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Article number528
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020

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