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Mega-heatwaves in France during the second half of the 21st century and the 50°C threshold

24 August 2017

Margot Bador (post-doctoral research fellow at the Climate Change Research Center, Sydney, and CERFACS PhD), Laurent Terray (CERFACS researcher) and Julien Boé (CNRS researcher at CERFACS) with collaborators from Météo-France have published a study of France summer mega-heatwaves and associated temperature extremes that could occur at the end of the 21st century under the business as usual greenhouse gas emission scenario. The study  is based on regional climate simulations at very high spatial resolution (12km) performed with the ALADIN model developed at Météo-France. The authors have studied a simulated heatwave that occur in the 2070s when the mean France climate has already warmed by several degrees.  They find that  the simulated 2070 heatwave is as severe (in terms of amplitude and spatial extent) as the observed 2003 heatwave when compared to their respective mean climate.  They further show that late spring dry land conditions may lead to a significant amplification of summer temperature extremes and heatwave intensity through limitations in evapotranspiration. By 2100, the simulations suggest that the increase in summer temperature maximum records could reach 6 °C to 13 °C in the five considered France climatic regions, and therefore, exceed the 50°C threshold.

Link of the article on the site of the newspaper Environnemental Research Letters
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa751c/data

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