Improved confidence in modelling Australian climate extremes

December 9th, 2019

In a paper published in the Journal of Climate, DCFP’s Carly Tozer explains that coupled general circulation models (GCMs), a type of climate model, can be used to simulate the processes that give rise to the onset and decay of extreme climate events such as heavy rain and heatwaves.

Tozer’s paper builds on previous work by the DCFP which analysed multi-day rainfall extremes in Tasmania and heatwaves in southern Australia. The DCFP team established a link between rainfall and temperature patterns in these regions with the broader Southern Hemisphere circulation.

The paper, Assessing the representation of Australian regional climate extremes and their associated atmospheric circulation in climate models demonstrates that large scale wave train structures, which are a succession of atmospheric waves occurring at periodic intervals (and are associated with these multi-day extremes) are also reasonably well simulated by the models.

The findings are significant in that they provide context – and confidence – in the use of coupled GCMs in climate prediction and projection studies for regional extremes.