How extreme weather conditions could last longer due to climate change

People relax in the sun near the fountains at Trocadero as unusually warm temperatures hit Paris March 16, 2012.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier   (FRANCE - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT TRAVEL) - PM1E83G1DRO01

In 2018, Europe experienced a severe and long-lasting drought, extending over the whole summer. Image: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Peter Pfleiderer
Researcher, Humboldt University
Kai Kornhuber
Postdoctoral researcher, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Carl-Friedrich Schleussner
Research group leader, Humboldt University
Dim Coumou
Associate Professor of extreme weather and climate change, VU Amsterdam
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Illustration of the persistence metrics in our study for Berlin in 2018 (left) and Paris in 2016 (right). Top: Daily temperatures (grey line) and temperature anomalies relative to the daily average (red). Middle: Daily precipitation, in millimetres, and the identified states: rain days in blue for above 5mm and dry days in orange for below 1mm. Bottom: Resulting periods of consecutive warm (red), dry (orange), dry-warm (purple) and rain (blue) periods. In the right-hand panels, the vertical blue line indicates the date of the Seine flooding in 2016. Image: Pfleiderer et al. (2019)
Relative change in the probability that a given period in a given region exceeds 14 warm days (upper left quadrants), 14 dry days (upper right), 14 dry-and-warm days (lower left) and seven rain days (lower right). Purple shading indicates an increase in persistence, green a decrease. Only regions for which changes are found to be significant and models agree on the direction of the change are shown, while others are left white. Identified drivers such as weakening storm tracks, soil-moisture and changes in the number of dry and rain days are indicated by symbols. See the publication for further details. Image: Adapted from Pfleiderer et al. (2019).
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