ESRL/PSD Seminar Series
PSD Flash Seminar
The Making of an Extreme Event: Putting the Pieces Together
A major focus of the PSD attribution group is on identifying how phenomena and processes across the temporal spectrum from climate to weather contribute to extreme events. Because the ultimate goal of this work is to provide society and decision-makers with early warnings on extremes, the group also considers the extent to which such events might be predictable from prior climate information. The process is illustrated here through a case study conducted to identify the primary factors contributing to record warm temperatures that occurred over the U.S. in March 2012. The results indicate that several pieces across the climate-weather spectrum ultimately linked together to produce this extreme event, with particularly important contributions from phenomena evolving on seasonal-to-subseasonal time scales. The probability for exceptional warmth evolved dynamically as different phenomena became predictable. Increased understanding of the connections between climate and weather will be vital for better anticipating the possibility for extreme events, with more general implications for determining what information might provided and when it might be provided.
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