Climate change is expected to increase temperatures globally, and consequently more frequent, longer, and hotter heat waves are likely to occur. Ambiguity in defining heat waves appropriately makes it difficult to compare changes in heat wave events over time. This study provides a quantitative definition of a heat wave and makes probabilistic heat wave projections for the Korean Peninsula under two global warming scenarios. Changes to heat waves under global warming are investigated using the representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) and 8.5 (RCP8.5) experiments from 30 coupled models participating in phase five of the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project. Probabilistic climate projections from multi-model ensembles have been constructed using both simple and weighted averaging. Results from both methods are similar and show that heat waves will be more intense, frequent, and longer lasting. These trends are more apparent under the RCP8.5 scenario as compared to the RCP4.5 scenario. Under the RCP8.5 scenario, typical heat waves are projected to become stronger than any heat wave experienced in the recent measurement record. Furthermore, under this scenario, it cannot be ruled out that Korea will experience heat wave conditions spanning almost an entire summer before the end of the 21st century.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science