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Science Underpinning the Prediction and Attribution of Extreme Events

Weather and climate extremes are an inherent part of climate. There is overwhelming evidence that the climate and its extremes are changing. As extremes affect every aspect of our society, decision- and policy makers, and stakeholders are increasingly asking for reliable predictions of extremes on time scales from days to seasons and centuries. To meet this societal need, the world climate research community is challenged by underlying science questions and the quality and coverage of the observational data that are used to monitor and understand extremes. Both the questions and the data need urgent attention in order to better identify the factors and mechanisms that determine the location, intensity, and frequency of various climate extremes including droughts, floods, heavy precipitation events, heat waves, cold spells, tropical and extratropical storms, coastal sea level surges and ocean waves. This information is needed in the near-term (from a season to a year) to mitigate risks to society and ecosystems, and in the longer term (from a decade to centuries) for effective adaptation planning. Despite the importance of the topic, progress has been fairly slow. However, recent developments suggest that the prospects for more rapid advancement of this WCRP Grand Challenge are excellent. ... read the white paper

 

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