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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Monitoring and Understanding Changes in Heat Waves, Cold Waves, Floods, and Droughts in the United States: State of Knowledge


Some of the long-term changes in weather and climate extremes across the US have occurred as expected in the warming climate, but the trends vary throughout the country and easily detected due to multiyear and decadal variations. The US National Climate Assessment has to address extremes, as these are changing and anthropogenic climate change has a role in altering the probabilities of some of the extreme events. Extreme events also drive changes in natural and human systems more than average climatic conditions. Four workshops have been held to provide technical input to the US National Climate Assessment writing team where leading scientists in the field worked jointly to determine how best to assess the state of the science in understanding the decadal- to century-scale variability and changes in various types of extreme events.

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