Gerald A. Meehl, Claudia Tebaldi


Published date August 13, 2004

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

  • A global coupled climate model shows that there is a distinct geographic pattern to future changes in heat waves
  • Observations and the models show that present-day heat waves over Europe and North America coincide with a specific atmospheric circulation pattern that is intensified by ongoing increases in greenhouse gases
  • Model results for areas of Europe and North America, associated with the severe heat waves in Chicago in 1995 and Paris in 2003, show that future heat waves in these areas will become more intense, more frequent, and longer lasting in the second half of the 21st century