A new scientific assessment has determined that changing climate will lead to more extreme weather conditions in the future.
According to a report in ENN (Environmental News Network), the evaluation has been done by the US Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research.
It provides the first comprehensive analysis of observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes in North America and U.S. territories.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change previously evaluated extreme weather and climate events on a global basis in this same context. However, there has not been a specific assessment across North America prior to this report.
Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
The report is based on scientific evidence that a warming world will be accompanied by changes in the intensity, duration, frequency, and geographic extent of weather and climate extremes.
According to report co-chair Tom Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, "This report addresses one of the most frequently asked questions about global warming: what will happen to weather and climate extremes?"
"This synthesis and assessment product examines this question across North America and concludes that we are now witnessing and will increasingly experience more extreme weather and climate events," he added.
"We will continue to see some of the biggest impacts of global warming coming from changes in weather and climate extremes," said report co-chair Gerry Meehl, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
"This report focuses for the first time on changes of extremes specifically over North America," he added.
According to the report, specific future projections include:
Abnormally hot days and nights, along with heat waves, are very likely to become more common. Cold nights are very likely to become less common.
Also, sea ice extent is expected to continue to decrease and may even disappear in the Arctic Ocean in summer in coming decades.
While precipitation, on average, is likely to be less frequent but more intense, droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in some regions.
Also, the strongest cold-season storms in the Atlantic and Pacific are likely to produce stronger winds and higher extreme wave heights.