May 21, 2017

Unraveling anthropogenic influence on the changing risk of heat waves in China

Sun, Qiaohong, Miao, Chiyuan, AghaKouchak, Amir, Duan, Qingyun
Geophysical Research Letters
  • States that observations show the areas affected by heat waves have increased over China, with the most extreme heat wave occurring during the past five decades
  • Shows that both trends can be attributed to anthropogenic influences
  • Reports that under the moderate Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 scenario, anthropogenic influences will increase the risk of occurrence of the observed maximum Heat Wave Magnitude Index in the late 21st century and will cause a more than tenfold increase in the likelihood of the strongest events on record recurring across more than half China
  • Finds that more than 50% of land area in China is projected to be affected by intense heat waves
  • Results show that over eastern China, the extremes in heat distribution are more sensitive to precipitation deficits, indicating stronger heat wave amplification trends to occur under drier conditions
  • Concludes the likelihood of concurrent droughts and heat waves is expected to increase in large parts of China in the late 21st century