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Methods and model dependency of extreme event attribution: the 2015 European drought

Hauser, M., Gudmundsson, L., Orth, R., Jezequel, A., Haustein, K., Vautard, R., van Oldenborgh, G. J., Wilcox, L. ORCID: and Seneviratne, S. I. (2017) Methods and model dependency of extreme event attribution: the 2015 European drought. Earth's Future. ISSN 2328-4277

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2017EF000612


Science on the role of anthropogenic influence on extreme weather events, such as heatwaves or droughts, has evolved rapidly in the past years. The approach of “event attribution” compares the occurrence-probability of an event in the present, factual, climate with its probability in a hypothetical, counterfactual, climate without human-induced climate change. Several methods can be used for event attribution, based on climate model simulations and observations, and usually researchers only assess a subset of methods and data sources. Here, we explore the role of methodological choices for the attribution of the 2015 meteorological summer drought in Europe. We present contradicting conclusions on the relevance of human influence as a function of the chosen data source and event attribution methodology. Assessments using the maximum number of models and counterfactual climates with pre-industrial greenhouse gas concentrations point to an enhanced drought risk in Europe. However, other evaluations show contradictory evidence. These results highlight the need for a multi-model and multi-method framework in event attribution research, especially for events with a low signal- to-noise ratio and high model dependency such as regional droughts.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:72668

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