Scenario dependence of future changes in climate extremes under 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming
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The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming below 2 °C and pursue efforts to even limit it to 1.5 °C relative to pre-industrial levels. Decision makers need reliable information on the impacts caused by these warming levels for climate mitigation and adaptation measures. We explore the changes in climate extremes, which are closely tied to economic losses and casualties, under 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming and their scenario dependence using three sets of ensemble global climate model simulations. A warming of 0.5 °C (from 1.5 °C to 2 °C) leads to significant increases in temperature and precipitation extremes in most regions. However, the projected changes in climate extremes under both warming levels highly depend on the pathways of emissions scenarios, with different greenhouse gas (GHG)/aerosol forcing ratio and GHG levels. Moreover, there are multifold differences in several heavily polluted regions, among the scenarios, in the changes in precipitation extremes due to an additional 0.5 °C warming from 1.5 °C to 2 °C. Our results demonstrate that the chemical compositions of emissions scenarios, not just the total radiative forcing and resultant warming level, must be considered when assessing the impacts of global 1.5/2 °C warming.
author list (cited authors)
Wang, Z., Lin, L., Zhang, X., Zhang, H., Liu, L., & Xu, Y.