A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming
INFN & Università degli Studi, Milano, Italy
2 Università degli Studi, Milano – DISAA, Milano, Italy
3 Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze, Verona, Italy
4 Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro, INFN, Università di Padova, Padua, Italy
Accepted: 29 November 2021
Published online: 13 January 2022
This article reviews recent bibliography on time series of some extreme weather events and related response indicators in order to understand whether an increase in intensity and/or frequency is detectable. The most robust global changes in climate extremes are found in yearly values of heatwaves (number of days, maximum duration and cumulated heat), while global trends in heatwave intensity are not significant. Daily precipitation intensity and extreme precipitation frequency are stationary in the main part of the weather stations. Trend analysis of the time series of tropical cyclones show a substantial temporal invariance and the same is true for tornadoes in the USA. At the same time, the impact of warming on surface wind speed remains unclear. The analysis is then extended to some global response indicators of extreme meteorological events, namely natural disasters, floods, droughts, ecosystem productivity and yields of the four main crops (maize, rice, soybean and wheat). None of these response indicators show a clear positive trend of extreme events. In conclusion on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet. It would be nevertheless extremely important to define mitigation and adaptation strategies that take into account current trends.
© The Author(s) 2022
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