Y Gao, J S Fu, J B Drake, Y Liu, J-F Lamarque

Environmental Research Letters

Published date November 6, 2012

Projected changes of extreme weather events in the eastern United States based on a high resolution climate modeling system

  • This study is the first evaluation of dynamical downscaling using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model on a 4 km × 4 km high resolution scale in the eastern US driven by the Community Earth System Model version 1.0 (CESM v1.0)
  • Examines the global and regional climate model results, and corrects an inconsistency in skin temperature during the downscaling process by modifying the land/sea mask
  • In comparison with observations, WRF shows statistically significant improvement over CESM in reproducing extreme weather events, with improvement for heat wave frequency estimation as high as 98%
  • Uses the fossil fuel intensive scenario Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 to study a possible future mid-century climate extreme in 2057–9
  • Finds that both the heat waves and the extreme precipitation in 2057–9 are more severe than the present climate in the Eastern US
  • Finds that the Northeastern US shows large increases in both heat wave intensity (3.05 °C higher) and annual extreme precipitation (107.3 mm more per year)
  • Finds that Cleveland has it the worst, with a heat wave temperature increase of 3.71°C by Philadelphia (3.69°C)