03 Jun 2022
03 Jun 2022

Countries most exposed to individual and compound extremes at different global warming levels

Fulden Batibeniz, Mathias Hauser, and Sonia Isabelle Seneviratne Fulden Batibeniz et al.
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. It is now certain that human-induced climate change is increasing the incidence of extreme temperature, precipitation and drought events globally. A critical aspect of these extremes is their concurrency that may result in substantial impact on society and environmental systems. Therefore, quantifying compound extremes in current and projected climate is necessary to take measures and adapt to future challenges. Here we investigate pre-industrial and projected changes of individual and concurrent extremes using multi-model simulations of the 6th phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). We focus on individual and simultaneous occurrence of extreme events: heat wave, drought, maximum 1-day precipitation (Rx1day) and extreme wind (wind) in the pre-industrial period (1850–1900) and at four global warming levels (GWLs of +1 °C, +1.5°C, +2 °C and +3 °C). We find that, on a global scale, most investigated individual extremes become more frequent and affect more land area for higher GWLs. This increase differs depending on the considered months and implies both unprecedented shifts in timing and disproportional increases in frequency of concurrent events for different climate regions. As a result, concurrent occurrences of the investigated extremes become 2.7 to 8.1 times more frequent for a GWL of 3 °C. At +3 °C the most dramatic increase is identified for concurrent heat wave-drought events with an eight-fold increase in subtropical countries, a seven-fold increase in northern middle and high latitude countries, and a five-fold increase in tropical countries, respectively. Our results also suggest that years without any individual events will decrease six-fold while the number of years with two concurrent events will double. Given the projected disproportional frequency increases across GWLs and decreasing non-event years, our results strongly emphasize the risks of uncurbed greenhouse gas emissions.

Fulden Batibeniz et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-321', Mojtaba Sadegh, 23 Jun 2022
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-321', Mojtaba Sadegh, 23 Jun 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Fulden Batibeniz, 25 Aug 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-321', Arpita Mondal, 01 Aug 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Fulden Batibeniz, 25 Aug 2022

Fulden Batibeniz et al.

Fulden Batibeniz et al.


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Short summary
We study single and concurrent extreme heatwaves, droughts, maximum precipitation, and strong wind events. Globally, these extremes become more frequent and affect more land areas under future warming. Only a few years would go by without any extremes. Heatwaves-droughts are projected to increase the most in subtropical countries, whereas this is the case for high precipitation-wind in the tropics. More people will be exposed to these extreme events unless mitigation actions are urgently taken.