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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: The Earth system at a global warming of 1.5°C and 2.0°C

Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 299-311, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Mar 2018

Research article | 28 Mar 2018

Changes in extremely hot days under stabilized 1.5 and 2.0 °C global warming scenarios as simulated by the HAPPI multi-model ensemble

Michael Wehner1, Dáithí Stone1, Dann Mitchell2, Hideo Shiogama3, Erich Fischer4, Lise S. Graff5, Viatcheslav V. Kharin6, Ludwig Lierhammer7, Benjamin Sanderson8, and Harinarayan Krishnan1 Michael Wehner et al.
  • 1Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  • 2School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 3National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
  • 4Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 5Development Center for Weather Forecasting Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
  • 6Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • 7German Climate Computing Center, Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum, Hamburg, Germany
  • 8National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. The half a degree additional warming, prognosis and projected impacts (HAPPI) experimental protocol provides a multi-model database to compare the effects of stabilizing anthropogenic global warming of 1.5°C over preindustrial levels to 2.0°C over these levels. The HAPPI experiment is based upon large ensembles of global atmospheric models forced by sea surface temperature and sea ice concentrations plausible for these stabilization levels. This paper examines changes in extremes of high temperatures averaged over three consecutive days. Changes in this measure of extreme temperature are also compared to changes in hot season temperatures. We find that over land this measure of extreme high temperature increases from about 0.5 to 1.5°C over present-day values in the 1.5°C stabilization scenario, depending on location and model. We further find an additional 0.25 to 1.0°C increase in extreme high temperatures over land in the 2.0°C stabilization scenario. Results from the HAPPI models are consistent with similar results from the one available fully coupled climate model. However, a complicating factor in interpreting extreme temperature changes across the HAPPI models is their diversity of aerosol forcing changes.

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Short summary
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change challenged the scientific community to describe the impacts of stabilizing the global temperature at its 21st Conference of Parties. A specific target of 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels had not been seriously considered by the climate modeling community prior to the Paris Agreement. This paper analyzes heat waves in simulations designed for this target. We find there are reductions in extreme temperature compared to a 2 °C target.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change challenged the scientific community to...