Review

Climate Extremes: Observations, Modeling, and Impacts

Science  22 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5487, pp. 2068-2074
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5487.2068

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Abstract

One of the major concerns with a potential change in climate is that an increase in extreme events will occur. Results of observational studies suggest that in many areas that have been analyzed, changes in total precipitation are amplified at the tails, and changes in some temperature extremes have been observed. Model output has been analyzed that shows changes in extreme events for future climates, such as increases in extreme high temperatures, decreases in extreme low temperatures, and increases in intense precipitation events. In addition, the societal infrastructure is becoming more sensitive to weather and climate extremes, which would be exacerbated by climate change. In wild plants and animals, climate-induced extinctions, distributional and phenological changes, and species' range shifts are being documented at an increasing rate. Several apparently gradual biological changes are linked to responses to extreme weather and climate events.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: david.r.easterling{at}noaa.gov

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