Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective.

6 September 2013

Oxford scientists working as part of climatepredicion.net have contributed to a special report for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society entitled “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a climate perspective” released 5th Sep 2013. Overall, 18 different research teams from around the world contributed to the peer-reviewed report that examined the causes of 12 extreme events that occurred on five continents and in the Arctic.

The paper led by Sarah Sparrow analysed results from a very large ensemble of climate model simulations performed via volunteer computing to assess the potential human influence on the wet summer seen in the UK in 2012. Results show that the human influence on the summer UK rainfall totals observed in 2012 was minimal. However, large uncertainties exist in the pattern of sea surface temperature change in the North Atlantic that can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change, and this remains a key uncertainty in their results.

The paper led by Ricardo Trigo shows that the 2011–12 winter drought over the Iberian Penninsula was extreme in its magnitude and spatial extent. The modelling study using Weather@ Home has concluded that the odds for such a drought to occur have increased by about 25%.