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Typicality of the 2021 Western North America summer heatwave

Lucarini, V. ORCID:, Galfi, V. M., Riboldi, J. and Messori, G. (2023) Typicality of the 2021 Western North America summer heatwave. Environmental Research Letters, 18 (1). 015004. ISSN 1748-9326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/acab77


Elucidating the statistical properties of extreme meteo-climatic events and capturing the physical processes responsible for their occurrence are key steps for improving our understanding of climate variability and climate change and for better evaluating the associated hazards. It has recently become apparent that large deviation theory (LDT) is very useful for investigating persistent extreme events, and specifically, for flexibly estimating long return periods and for introducing a notion of dynamical typicality. Using a methodological framework based on LDT and taking advantage of long simulations by a state-of-the-art Earth system model, we investigate the 2021 Western North America summer heatwave. Indeed, our analysis shows that the 2021 event can be seen as an unlikely but possible manifestation of climate variability, whilst its probability of occurrence is greatly amplified by the ongoing climate change. We also clarify the properties of spatial coherence of the 2021 heatwave and elucidate the role played by the Rocky Mountains in modulating hot, dry, and persistent extreme events in the Western Pacific region of North America.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for the Mathematics of Planet Earth (CMPE)
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code:109374
Publisher:Institute of Physics


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