Nov 1, 2013

Spatiotemporal changes of global extreme temperature events (ETEs) since 1981 and the meteorological causes

Xiao Song, Zhao Zhang, Yi Chen, Pin Wang, Ming Xiang, Peijun Shi, Fulu Tao
Natural Hazards
  • Analyzes temporal trends and the spatial patterns of extreme temperature events (ETEs) at the global scale
  • Uses disaster data from 1981 to 2010 compiled by Emergency Events Database to obtain a global view of the distribution of and the changes in the recorded ETEs
  • Results showed 2.7 and 6.4 increases in the frequencies of heat waves and cold spells per decade, respectively, since the 1980s—however, there was large regional variability worldwide
  • Finds that more than 40 % of the recorded ETEs occurred in Europe, and Asia experienced 33 and 26 % of the heat wave and cold spell events, respectively
  • States the global pattern for the occurrence frequency of ETEs in recent decades could be largely ascribed to the meteorological indexes: the heat stress index (HSI) and the cold stress index (CSI)
  • States the frequency of heat wave events increased from 1981 to 2010, and this trend is consistent with the increase in the HSI
  • States, however, that the cold spell events did not appear to be reduced, as demonstrated by the disaster records, and this finding is inconsistent with the CSI trend—indicating that other factors also influence the occurrence of disaster events