Extreme weather events – such as hurricanes, floods, and heat waves – not only stress society, but also push the bounds of what climate models can simulate.
Although extreme weather events typically impact relatively small (city-wide) scales, they are often influenced by planetary-scale drivers in the Earth system. Seasonal to multi-decadal prediction and centennial projection of extremes requires understanding the physical mechanisms that drive variability and change in extremes. The CASCADE team uses observations, high-resolution regional climate models, and super-parameterized and variable-resolution Earth system models to perform mechanistic experiments to quantify how extremes respond to climate trends and patterns of ocean-atmosphere variability.
The CASCADE SFA is working towards addressing the overarching question, how have changes in the physical behavior of the coupled system altered the frequency and characteristics of extreme climate events? The SFA team focuses on the thermodynamic and dynamic processes that drive multivariate extremes and their multi-scale interactions in the Earth system, the processes that drive changes in the spatio-temporal characteristics of extremes, and the fidelity with which these processes are represented in climate models.