Observed Variability and Trends in Extreme Climate Events: A Brief Review

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Variations and trends in extreme climate events have only recently received much attention. Exponentially increasing economic losses, coupled with an increase in deaths due to these events, have focused attention on the possibility that these events are increasing in frequency. One of the major problems in examining the climate record for changes in extremes is a lack of high-quality, long-term data. In some areas of the world increases in extreme events are apparent, while in others there appears to be a decline. Based on this information increased ability to monitor and detect multidecadal variations and trends is critical to begin to detect any observed changes and understand their origins.

*This is the second of five papers in the “Understanding Changes in Weather and Climate Extremes” series.

+NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

#Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

@Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, Illinois.

&Kenyan Meteorological Department, Drought Monitoring Center, Nairobi, Kenya.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David R. Easterling, NOAA/NESDIS, National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Room 120, Asheville, NC 28801-5001. E-mail: deasterl@ncdc.noaa.gov

Variations and trends in extreme climate events have only recently received much attention. Exponentially increasing economic losses, coupled with an increase in deaths due to these events, have focused attention on the possibility that these events are increasing in frequency. One of the major problems in examining the climate record for changes in extremes is a lack of high-quality, long-term data. In some areas of the world increases in extreme events are apparent, while in others there appears to be a decline. Based on this information increased ability to monitor and detect multidecadal variations and trends is critical to begin to detect any observed changes and understand their origins.

*This is the second of five papers in the “Understanding Changes in Weather and Climate Extremes” series.

+NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

#Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

@Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, Illinois.

&Kenyan Meteorological Department, Drought Monitoring Center, Nairobi, Kenya.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David R. Easterling, NOAA/NESDIS, National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Room 120, Asheville, NC 28801-5001. E-mail: deasterl@ncdc.noaa.gov
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