Mar 19, 2016

Role of soil moisture versus recent climate change for the 2010 heat wave in western Russia

by
Hauser, Mathias, Orth, René, Seneviratne, Sonia I.
,
Geophysical Research Letters
  • States the severe 2010 heat wave in western Russia was found to be influenced by anthropogenic climate change
  • States that soil moisture-temperature feedbacks were deemed important for the buildup of the exceptionally high temperatures
  • Quantifies the relative role of both factors by applying the probabilistic event attribution framework
  • Analyzes ensemble simulations to distinguish the effect of climate change and the 2010 soil moisture conditions for annual maximum temperatures
  • Finds the dry 2010 soil moisture alone has increased the risk of a severe heat wave in western Russia sixfold, while climate change from 1960 to 2000 has approximately tripled it
  • Finds the combined effect of climate change and 2010 soil moisture yields a 13 times higher heat wave risk
  • Concludes that internal climate variability causing the dry 2010 soil moisture conditions formed a necessary basis for the extreme heat wave