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Publication Date
24 March 2014

Attribution of Extreme Weather to Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Sensitivity to Spatial and Temporal Scales



Recent studies have examined the anthropogenic contribution to specific extreme weather events, such as the European (2003) and Russian (2010) heat waves. While these targeted studies examine the attributable risk of an event occurring over a specified temporal and spatial domain, it is unclear how effectively their attribution statements can serve as a proxy for similar events occurring at different temporal and spatial scales. Here we test the sensitivity of attribution results to the temporal and spatial scales of extreme precipitation and temperature events by applying a probabilistic event attribution framework to the output of two global climate models, each run with and without anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Attributable risk tends to be more sensitive to the temporal than spatial scale of the event, increasing as event duration increases. Globally, correlations between attribution statements at different spatial scales are very strong for temperature extremes and moderate for heavy precipitation extremes.

“Attribution Of Extreme Weather To Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Sensitivity To Spatial And Temporal Scales”. 2014. Geophysical Research Letters 41: 2150-2155. doi:10.1002/2014GL059234.
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