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Detecting, Projecting, and Attributing Changes in Extreme Events in Alaska

July 28, 2020 @ 11:00 am to 12:00 pm AKDT

In a two part webinar, work on detecting and projecting changes in extreme temperature events over Alaska will be paired with a presentation on attributing the role of anthropogenic climate change in extreme events in Alaska.

Part 1: Detecting and Projecting Changes in Extreme Temperature Events over Alaska
Speaker: Sarah Weidman (NOAA Hollings Scholar)
This project investigates the likelihood of two recent extreme temperature events in Alaska: the persistent cold event in January 2012 and the record-breaking heat wave in July 2019. Using SPEAR, a high resolution global climate model developed by NOAA GFDL, these extreme temperature events can be generalized and quantified to predict the likelihood of similar extreme heat and cold events in the future due to potential climate change scenarios.

Part 2: Attributing the role of anthropogenic climate change in extreme events in Alaska
Speakers: Rick Lader & Peter Bieniek (International Arctic Research Center)
Understanding the role of climate change in extreme weather/climate events in Alaska such as wildfires and sea ice loss is important for better predicting such events in the future. Recent Alaska attribution studies compared climate model simulations of the present climate, in the context of the observed extreme event, with simulations that estimate what the climate might have looked like without increased CO2. This presentation will examine three recent Alaska extreme events: 2015 wildfires, 2016 marine heatwave, 2018 Bering Sea low sea ice. The potential role of anthropogenic climate change will be assessed for all three cases.