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Publication Date
28 September 2023

How Past U.S. Weather Events Could Replay in Future Climate Scenarios

Exploring thermodynamic modification to project future extreme events: A novel dataset for climate risk analysis and adaptation planning.
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Researchers examine how past weather events could re-occur under future climate conditions, providing crucial insights into climate change impacts on extreme weather events such as flooding. Photo by Jim Gade from Unsplash.

Climate change significantly impacts our environment and weather. Researchers have recently utilized a method called "thermodynamic global warming" (TGW) to study potential future climate conditions in the United States. This technique replays past weather events, incorporating the effects of climate change. Applied to 40 years of weather data (1980-2019) and repeated under four different future warming trajectories over the 21st century, this method generates a high-resolution, physically consistent dataset that explores a variety of future climate conditions and their potential influence on extreme weather events. This research provides a novel dataset for climate risk analysis and future planning.


This research applies an established approach for predicting climate change's impact on specific weather events at an unprecedented scale. A comprehensive dataset was created by adjusting past weather data with future warming signals, illustrating how past 40 years' weather events might appear under varying future climate conditions.  This large-scale, long-term dataset enables exploration of climate change's potential effects on extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, and storms. This study could influence environmental science, infrastructure and urban planning, and disaster management, aiding in understanding and preparing for our changing climate.


Researchers have developed a novel dataset to project how past extreme events could replay in a warmer climate in the continental United States. They used a regional climate model to simulate past weather events under different climate conditions, effectively creating alternative versions of these events. The team created a 40-year sequence of past weather from 1980–2019 and then repeated this sequence using a range of thermodynamic warming signals that follow four 80-year future warming trajectories from 2020–2099. This approach systematically explores how thermodynamic change influences the characteristics of historical extreme events, such as heatwaves, droughts, and storms. The resulting dataset, which contains over 200 hourly and three-hour variables at a 12 km spatial resolution, can be used to examine a plausible range of future climate conditions in direct reference to previously observed weather. This research provides valuable insights into how climate change affects and will continue to affect environmental conditions relevant to society.

Point of Contact
Jennie Rice
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Funding Program Area(s)
Additional Resources:
NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center)