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Donald Wuebbles
,
Gerald Meehl
,
Katharine Hayhoe
,
Thomas R. Karl
,
Kenneth Kunkel
,
Benjamin Santer
,
Michael Wehner
,
Brian Colle
,
Erich M. Fischer
,
Rong Fu
,
Alex Goodman
,
Emily Janssen
,
Viatcheslav Kharin
,
Huikyo Lee
,
Wenhong Li
,
Lindsey N. Long
,
Seth C. Olsen
,
Zaitao Pan
,
Anji Seth
,
Justin Sheffield
, and
Liqiang Sun

This is the fourth in a series of four articles on historical and projected climate extremes in the United States. Here, we examine the results of historical and future climate model experiments from the phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) based on work presented at the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Workshop on CMIP5 Climate Model Analyses held in March 2012. Our analyses assess the ability of CMIP5 models to capture observed trends, and we also evaluate the projected future changes in extreme events over the contiguous Unites States. Consistent with the previous articles, here we focus on model-simulated historical trends and projections for temperature extremes, heavy precipitation, large-scale drivers of precipitation variability and drought, and extratropical storms. Comparing new CMIP5 model results with earlier CMIP3 simulations shows that in general CMIP5 simulations give similar patterns and magnitudes of future temperature and precipitation extremes in the United States relative to the projections from the earlier phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) models. Specifically, projections presented here show significant changes in hot and cold temperature extremes, heavy precipitation, droughts, atmospheric patterns such as the North American monsoon and the North Atlantic subtropical high that affect interannual precipitation, and in extratropical storms over the twenty-first century. Most of these trends are consistent with, although in some cases (such as heavy precipitation) underestimate, observed trends.

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