Climate change uncertainty for daily minimum and maximum temperatures: a model inter-comparison

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Several impacts of climate change may depend more on changes in mean daily minimum (T{sub min}) or maximum (T{sub max}) temperatures than daily averages. To evaluate uncertainties in these variables, we compared projections of T{sub min} and T{sub max} changes by 2046-2065 for 12 climate models under an A2 emission scenario. Average modeled changes in T{sub max} were slightly lower in most locations than T{sub min}, consistent with historical trends exhibiting a reduction in diurnal temperature ranges. However, while average changes in T{sub min} and T{sub max} were similar, the inter-model variability of T{sub min} and T{sub max} projections exhibited ... continued below

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Lobell, D; Bonfils, C & Duffy, P November 9, 2006.

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Several impacts of climate change may depend more on changes in mean daily minimum (T{sub min}) or maximum (T{sub max}) temperatures than daily averages. To evaluate uncertainties in these variables, we compared projections of T{sub min} and T{sub max} changes by 2046-2065 for 12 climate models under an A2 emission scenario. Average modeled changes in T{sub max} were slightly lower in most locations than T{sub min}, consistent with historical trends exhibiting a reduction in diurnal temperature ranges. However, while average changes in T{sub min} and T{sub max} were similar, the inter-model variability of T{sub min} and T{sub max} projections exhibited substantial differences. For example, inter-model standard deviations of June-August T{sub max} changes were more than 50% greater than for T{sub min} throughout much of North America, Europe, and Asia. Model differences in cloud changes, which exert relatively greater influence on T{sub max} during summer and T{sub min} during winter, were identified as the main source of uncertainty disparities. These results highlight the importance of considering separately projections for T{sub max} and T{sub min} when assessing climate change impacts, even in cases where average projected changes are similar. In addition, impacts that are most sensitive to summertime T{sub min} or wintertime T{sub max} may be more predictable than suggested by analyses using only projections of daily average temperatures.

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PDF-file: 19 pages; size: 0.1 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters, N/A, N/A, March 15, 2007, L05715

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-226477
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 907851
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc880712

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • November 9, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 10:34 p.m.

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Lobell, D; Bonfils, C & Duffy, P. Climate change uncertainty for daily minimum and maximum temperatures: a model inter-comparison, article, November 9, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc880712/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.