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Expect A Warmer, Wetter World This Century

Climate Change
October 20, 2006
Recent episodes of deadly heat in the United States and Europe, long dry spells across the U.S. West, and heavy bursts of rain and snow across much of North America and Eurasia hint at longer-term changes to come, according to a new study based on several of the world's most advanced climate models. Much of the world will face an enhanced risk of heat waves, intense precipitation, and other weather extremes, conclude scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Texas Tech University, and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre.
The new study, "Going to the Extremes," will appear in the December issue of the journal Climatic Change.
Many previous studies have looked at how average temperature or rainfall might change in the next century as greenhouse gases increase. However, the new research looks more specifically at how weather extremes could change.
"It's the extremes, not the averages, that cause the most damage to society and to many ecosystems," says NCAR scientist Claudia Tebaldi, lead author for the report. "We now have the first model-based consensus on how the risk of dangerous heat waves, intense rains, and other kinds of extreme weather will change in the next century." (photo above: A thunderstorm cloud passes over the plains east of Denver. (Copyright UCAR,)

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