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Douville H.,CNRM GAME Toulouse France | Colin J.,CNRM GAME Toulouse France | Krug E.,CNRM GAME Toulouse France | Cattiaux J.,CNRM GAME Toulouse France | Thao S.,CNRM GAME Toulouse France
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2016

Projected changes in daily temperatures are highly model dependent, particularly in the summer midlatitudes where the spread in the response of heat waves represents a major obstacle for the design of adaptation strategies. Understanding the main reasons for such uncertainties is obviously a research priority. Here we use a set of global atmospheric simulations to assess the contribution of the soil moisture feedback to changes in the full distribution of daily maximum summer temperatures projected in the late 21st century. Results show that this feedback (i) accounts for up to one third of the mean increase in daily maximum temperatures, (ii) dominates changes in the shape of the distribution, and (iii) explains about half of the increase in the severity of heat waves over densely populated areas of the northern midlatitudes. A dedicated intercomparison project is therefore needed to assess and constrain land surface feedbacks in the new generation Earth System Models. ©2015. American Geophysical Union.

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