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Droughts and Heatwaves

Droughts and Heatwaves

Workpackage 6: Impacts of changes in droughts and heat waves

Information on droughts and heatwaves forms critical inputs to assessments of water resources and the sustainability of living in large cities, They are also a useful benchmark for quantifying uncertainties, since they are better understood than some more localised variables such as the daily extreme rainfall that causes flooding. European mean temperature and frequency and intensity of heatwaves have already experienced significant changes due to greenhouse gas increases. In the future, mean temperatures as well as the frequency of heat waves is expected to further increase along with drought frequency and severity. Details of changes to distributions of temperature and precipitation extremes remain sketchy at best, and it is far from clear how predictions of changes in the probability distribution functions of climate can be combined from multi-model information into an overall change in the probability of extremes. EQUIP developed robust estimates of uncertainty to inform adaptation to predicted changes in droughts and heat waves. As part of this, we assessed the cascade of uncertainties from climate to impacts for the case of decision makers in water management in London.

Workpackage leader: Gabi Hegerl (Edinburgh)

Contributing: Chris Kilsby (Newcastle), Peter Stott (Hadley Centre), Simon Tett (Edinburgh), Ed Hawkins (Reading), Robert Willows (Environment Agency)

Role: worked with WP1-4 to address project objectives2-7 for the case of droughts and heat waves.