State-of-the-art global models underestimate impacts from climate extremes

Schewe, J., Gosling, S., Reyer, C., Zhao, F., Ciais, P., Elliott, J., Francois, L., Huber, V., et al. (2019). State-of-the-art global models underestimate impacts from climate extremes. Nature Communications 10.1038/s41467-019-08745-6.

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Project: High-End cLimate Impacts and eXtremes (HELIX, FP7 603864), Quantifying projected impacts under 2°C warming (IMPACT2C, FP7 282746)


Global impact models represent process-level understanding of how natural and human Q2 systems may be affected by climate change. Their projections are used in integrated assessments of climate change. Here we test, for the first time, systematically across many important systems, how well such impact models capture the impacts of extreme climate conditions. Using the 2003 European heat wave and drought as a historical analogue for comparable events in the future, we find that a majority of models underestimate the extremeness of impacts in important sectors such as agriculture, terrestrial ecosystems, and heat-related human mortality, while impacts on water resources and hydropower are overestimated in some river basins; and the spread across models is often large. This has important implications for economic assessments of climate change impacts that rely on these models. It also means that societal risks from future extreme events may be greater than previously thought.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2019 13:56
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:31

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