Weather Extremes in Future Climates

2020-05-04

Docentship lecture on  Weather Extremes in Future Climate. Participate via Zoom. 

Gabriele Messori
Gabriele Messori, senior lecturer in meteorology researches in extreme weather.
20 May he holds his trial lecture for appointment as a docent with the title; Mid-Latitude Weather Extremes in Future Climate.

Gabriele, you will present some possible future climate scenarios, tell us more.

- When we simulate future climates in a numerical model, we need to make assumptions on how our society and economy will evolve. Will we follow a green growth path or will we continue with a heavily fossil-fuel dependent economy? To answer this, we typically use a range of future development scenarios, the most recent of which are called shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). These scenarios are not forecasts or predictions of what will happen, but rather a set of possible evolutions of our society and economy, each of which corresponds to different emissions of greenhouse gases. We then base our numerical climate simulations on these scenarios, and obtain a range of possible future climates depending on the selected SSP scenario.

What kind of extreme weather can the world face in the future?

- The types of extreme weather we will face in the future may be very different from today. Cold spells will be significantly reduced, while regions such as Scandinavia, which in the past seldom experienced high summertime temperatures, may be affected by heatwaves comparable to those that today affect more southerly European countries. Heavy precipitation events will likely increase over all of Northern Europe. Storminess may increase over western/continental Europe, but may instead decrease over Mediterranean region. The details and magnitudes of these changes may strongly depend on which future scenario we will follow.

Which areas are most likely to be affected?

- This very much depends on the type of climate extreme. Taking winter storms as an example, western/continental Europe may face stronger increases than other European regions. As a note of caution, the more we move to small spatial scales, the more uncertain our future projections become. Therefore, while our understanding of changes at continental or regional (e.g. Northern Europe) scales is often robust, making statements at local scales (e.g. Uppsala län) is a lot more complex.

What are the worst case scenarios for Sweden?

- For virtually all countries, the worst case scenario is that of continued high greenhouse gas emissions leading to rapid climate change. The challenges this would pose to each country will be different, but Sweden is in good company in having every interest in rapidly reducing emissions.

You can watch the docent lecture via Zoom, Just click the Zoom-button, see the calendar event.

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