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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Attribution of the July–August 2013 heat event in Central and Eastern China to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions


In the midsummer of 2013, Central and Eastern China (CEC) was hit by an extraordinary heat event, with the region experiencing the warmest July-August on record. To explore how human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and natural internal variability contributed to this heat event, we compare observed July-August mean surface air temperature with that simulated by climate models. We find that both atmospheric natural variability and anthropogenic factors contributed to this heat event. This extreme warm midsummer was associated with a positive high-pressure anomaly that was closely related to the stochastic behavior of atmospheric circulation. Diagnosis of CMIP5 models and large ensembles of two atmospheric models indicates that human influence has substantially increased the chance of warm mid-summers such as 2013 in CEC, although the exact estimated increase depends on the selection of climate models.

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