BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Models Predict Global Emergence of Unprecedented Heat in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Published: June 06, 2011
Posted: June 22, 2011

New research in Climatic Change finds that many areas of the globe are likely to permanently move into an unprecedented extreme heat regime over the next four decades should greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase. The study, partially funded by DOE and conducted by scientists at Stanford University, includes analyses of a large suite of global climate model experiments and observational data revealing that global warming is already resulting in a novel heat regime. In addition, the authors find that global climate models are able to capture the observed intensification of seasonal hot conditions, demonstrating emergence of an extreme heat regime in which the coolest summer of the 21st century is hotter than the hottest summer of the late 20th century. In contrast to the common perception that high-latitude areas face the most accelerated response to global warming, the results demonstrate that tropical areas may exhibit the most immediate and robust emergence of unprecedented heat, occurring within the next two decades. The research implies that many areas outside of the tropics may exhibit a 50% likelihood of permanent emergence by the mid 21st century, including areas of the United States, Europe, and China, even with relatively moderate average global warming.

Reference: Diffenbaugh, N. S., and M. Scherer. 2011. ÔÇťObservational and Model Evidence for Global Emergence of Unprecedented Heat in the 20th and 21st Centuries, Climatic Change, 10.1007/s10584-011-0112-y.

Contact: Bob Vallario, SC 23.1, (301) 903-5758
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Multisector Dynamics (formerly Integrated Assessment)

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)