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Publication Date
17 October 2022

How the Great Plains Dust Bowl drought spread heat extremes around the Northern Hemisphere



AbstractExtraordinary heat extremes occurred in the 1930s in areas of the Northern Hemisphere far from the record setting heat over the US associated with the Great Plains Dust Bowl drought. A climate model sensitivity experiment is used to identify a new mechanism involving a warm season circumglobal atmospheric teleconnection pattern that spread heat extremes over far-flung areas of the Northern Hemisphere arising from the intense heating over the desiccated Great Plains themselves. It has only been in the twenty-first century that human populations in these regions of the Northern Hemisphere have experienced heat extremes comparable to the 1930s. This demonstrates that humans influenced Northern Hemisphere temperature and heat extremes through disastrous and unprecedented regional land use practices over the Great Plains, and points to the possibility that future intense regional droughts could affect heat extremes on hemispheric scales.

Meehl, Gerald A., Haiyan Teng, Nan A Rosenbloom, Aixue Hu, Claudia Tebaldi, and Guy Walton. 2022. “How The Great Plains Dust Bowl Drought Spread Heat Extremes Around The Northern Hemisphere”. Scientific Reports 12 (1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-22262-5.
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