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

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Science  13 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5686, pp. 994-997
DOI: 10.1126/science.1098704
  • Fig. 1.

    Heat wave severity as the mean annual 3-day worst (warmest) nighttime minima event (4) from NCEP/NCAR reanalyses, 1961 to 1990, for North America (°C) (A) and Europe (B), and from the model for North America (C) and Europe (D). The changes of 3-day worst (warmest) nighttime minima event from the model, future (2080 to 2099) minus present (1961 to 1990) for North America (°C) (E) and Europe (F) are also shown.

  • Fig. 2.

    Based on the threshold definition of heat wave (16), mean number of heat waves per year near Chicago (A) and Paris (B) and mean heat wave duration near Chicago (C) and Paris (D) are shown. In each panel, the blue diamond marked NCEP indicates the value computed from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. The black segment indicates the range of values obtained from the four ensemble members of the present-day (1961 to 1990) model simulation. The red segment indicates the range of values obtained from the five ensemble members of the future (2080 to 2099) model simulation. The single members are marked by individual symbols along the segments. Dotted vertical lines facilitate comparisons of the simulated ranges/observed value.

  • Fig. 3.

    Height anomalies at 500 hPa (gpm) for the 1995 Chicago heat wave (anomalies for 13 to 14 July 1995 from July 1948 to 2003 as base period), from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data (A) and the 2003 Paris heat wave (anomalies for 1 to 13 August 2003 from August 1948 to 2003 as base period), from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data (B). Also shown are anomalies for events that satisfy the heat wave criteria in the model in present-day climate (1961 to 1990), computed at grid points near Chicago (C) and Paris (D). In both cases, the base period is summer [June, July, August (JJA)], 1961 to 1990.

  • Fig. 4.

    Height anomalies at 500 hPa (gpm) for events that satisfy the heat wave criteria in the model in future climate (2080 to 2099) for grid points near Chicago (A) and Paris (B), using the same base period as in Fig. 3, C and D. Also shown are changes (future minus present) in the model's 500-hPa height mean base state, for North America (C) and Europe (D).

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    More Intense, More Frequent, and Longer Lasting Heat Waves in the 21st Century
    G. A. Meehl and C. Tebaldi

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