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Observed and projected shifts in hot extremes' season in the Eastern Mediterranean

Founda, D., Varotsos, K.V., Pierros, F., Giannakopoulos, C.
Global and planetary change 2019 v.175 pp. 190-200
air temperature, climate models, global warming, heat, observational studies, risk, Mediterranean region
In the background of global warming, the Mediterranean area has been recognized as a hot spot with respect to observed and projected heat related risk, manifested mainly through increased frequency and severity of hot extremes. This study explores changes in the timing and seasonality of different hot extreme indices, using historical air temperature data at a number of stations at the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, daily output from several Regional Climate Models realisations is analyzed to estimate future seasonal shifts under climate change. The analysis of observational data reveals significant changes in the seasonality of hot extremes and specifically lengthening of their period, which in some cases exceeds 10 days per decade, attributed to earlier rather than later occurrence. Shifts in the timing of hot extremes related to nighttime (daily minimum) temperature are larger and more robust among different stations compared to daytime extremes. Future simulations indicate further lengthening of the hot extremes' season by approximately one month in the near future (2021–2050) and by more than two months in the distant future (2071–2100) with respect to the control period (1971–2000). Such significant changes are expected to have a profound environmental, economical and societal impact in the area.