More Intense, More Frequent, and Longer Lasting Heat Waves in the 21st Century

Science  13 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5686, pp. 994-997
DOI: 10.1126/science.1098704

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A global coupled climate model shows that there is a distinct geographic pattern to future changes in heat waves. Model results for areas of Europe and North America, associated with the severe heat waves in Chicago in 1995 and Paris in 2003, show that future heat waves in these areas will become more intense, more frequent, and longer lasting in the second half of the 21st century. Observations and the model show that present-day heat waves over Europe and North America coincide with a specific atmospheric circulation pattern that is intensified by ongoing increases in greenhouse gases, indicating that it will produce more severe heat waves in those regions in the future.

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