Projected changes to winter temperature characteristics over Canada based on an RCM ensemble

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-015-2906-5
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TypeArticle
Journal titleClimate Dynamics
ISSN0930-7575
1432-0894
Volume47
Issue5-6
Pages13511366
Subjectclimate change; cold temperature extremes; regional climate model; Canada
AbstractCold temperature and associated extremes often impact adversely human health and environment and bring disruptions in economic activities during winter over Canada. This study investigates projected changes in winter (December to March) period cold extreme days (i.e., cold nights, cold days, frost days, and ice days) and cold spells over Canada based on 11 regional climate model (RCM) simulations for the future 2040–2069 period with respect to the current 1970–1999 period. These simulations, available from the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program, were obtained with six different RCMs, when driven by four different Atmosphere–Ocean General Circulation Models, under the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A2 scenario. Based on the reanalysis boundary conditions, the RCM simulations reproduce spatial patterns of observed mean values of the daily minimum and maximum temperatures and inter-annual variability of the number of cold nights over different Canadian climatic regions considered in the study. A comparison of current and future period simulations suggests decreases in the frequency of cold extreme events (i.e., cold nights, cold days and cold spells) and in selected return levels of maximum duration of cold spells over the entire study domain. Important regional differences are noticed as the simulations generally indicate smaller decreases in the characteristics of extreme cold events over western Canada compared to the other regions. The analysis also suggests an increase in the frequency of midwinter freeze–thaw events, due mainly to a decrease in the number of frost days and ice days for all Canadian regions. Especially, densely populated southern and coastal Canadian regions will require in depth studies to facilitate appropriate adaptation strategies as these regions are clearly expected to experience large increases in the frequency of freeze–thaw events.
Publication date
PublisherSpringer
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationOcean, Coastal and River Engineering; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number23001588
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Record identifiereec93edf-8605-4c06-9e19-ec3eea542e99
Record created2017-03-08
Record modified2017-03-08
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