Current and Future Climate Extremes Over Latin America and Caribbean: Assessing Earth System Models from High Resolution Model Intercomparison Project (HighResMIP)

Alvaro Avila-Diaz, Roger Rodrigues Torres, Cristian Felipe Zuluaga, Wilmar L. Cerón, Lais Oliveira, Victor Benezoli, Irma Ayes Rivera, Jose Antonio Marengo, Aaron B. Wilson, Felipe Medeiros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Extreme temperature and precipitation events are the primary triggers of hazards, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, and landslides, with localized impacts. In this sense, the finer grids of Earth System models (ESMs) could play an essential role in better estimating extreme climate events. The performance of High Resolution Model Intercomparison Project (HighResMIP) models is evaluated using the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) over the 1981–2014 period and future changes (2021–2050) under Shared Socioeconomic Pathway SSP5–8.5, over ten regions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The impact of increasing the horizontal resolution in estimating extreme climate variability on a regional scale is first compared against reference gridded datasets, including reanalysis, satellite, and merging products. We used three different groups based on the resolution of the model’s grid (sg): (i) low (0.8° ≤ sg ≤ 1.87°), (ii) intermediate (0.5° ≤ sg ≤ 0.7°), and (iii) high (0.23° ≥ sg ≤ 0.35°). Our analysis indicates that there was no clear evidence to support the posit that increasing horizontal resolution improves model performance. The ECMWF-IFS family of models appears to be a plausible choice to represent climate extremes, followed by the ensemble mean of HighResMIP in their intermediate resolution. For future climate, the projections indicate a consensus of temperature and precipitation climate extremes increase across most of the ten regions. Despite the uncertainties presented in this study, climate models have been and will continue to be an important tool for assessing risk in the face of extreme events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-130
Number of pages32
JournalEarth Systems and Environment
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences

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