Subsiding air parcels are among the causes of hot spells | 11/26/2019 | Staff
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Climate researchers have assumed that hot spells are caused by hot Mediterranean or Sahara air flowing to central Europe. Now, causes of extreme hot spells are the focus of a project coordinated by researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). They study weather and climate processes in the troposphere up to 10 kilometers and have now identified another cause of hot spells, namely, air parcels coming from the Atlantic Ocean and heating up when subsiding. The project, ClimXtreme, is aimed at developing the corresponding early warning systems. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

"As a result of global warming, hot spells are expected to occur more frequently and to be of higher intensity in the future," says Professor Andreas Fink of KIT. At the Troposphere Research Division of KIT's Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-TRO), the meteorologist works on improving the forecast of hot spells. "Hot spells are periods of at least three successive hot days." In 2003, 2018, and last summer, the impacts of hot spells in central Europe were clearly noticeable. The high temperatures and resulting drought affected nature and the population through forest fires and tree death. Health problems and a reduced quality of life are among the negative impacts of heat waves.

Heat - Waves - Decades

Have heat waves of the next decades been underestimated?

Within the ClimXtreme project, the researchers consider the question of whether the intensity of future hot spells has been underestimated so far. This is why they analyze whether and to what an extent hot spells might exceed expectations.

Climate - Researchers - Air - Masses - Sahara

So far, climate researchers have considered hot air masses from the Sahara to be the primary cause of extreme temperatures. However, the results of the current project reveal that other atmospheric factors are of much higher significance than expected. Within...
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