Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics

Climate Extremes

Extreme events such as heat waves, heavy precipitation, hurricanes etc., are relatively rare events with huge societal impacts. We wish to understand what drives these events and how they may change in a warming world. 

At a glance, a warming climate could simply shift the weather events so that heat waves become warmer and heavy precipitation events become wetter. On the other hand, research shows that a warming climate may change the probability of weather extremes and that the warming and wettening of extreme events will be stronger than the mean warming. 

As an example, mean precipitation increases by roughly 2% per degree of surface warming, but the heavy precipitation events may increase by up to 20% per degree of warming due to various feedbacks and air-sea interactions.

 

Research focus: 

  • Statistical distribution of extreme events, such as heavy preciptiation, heat waves, wind storms etc.
  • Role of the ocean mesoscale in driving extreme weather events
  • Energetics of the midlatitude atmosphere
  • How are extreme events represented in climate models? 
  • Interactions of extremes, e.g. heat waves and droughts, or storms and floods. 
  • Development of high-resolution climate models with adaptive grid refinement.