The IPCC and climate extremes
"An extreme weather event is an event that is rare within its statistical reference distribution at a particular place. Definitions of ‘rare’ vary, but an extreme weather event would normally be as rare as or rarer than the 10th or 90th percentile. By definition, the characteristics of what is called extreme weather may vary from place to place.
An extreme climate event is an average of a number of weather events over a certain period of time, an average which itself is extreme (e.g. rainfall over a season)."
Definition of an extreme weather event; IPCC Working Group I Third Assessment Report Glossary
Extremes in Working Group I Third Assessment Report
Summary for Policymakers Table 1
Chapter 2 Observed climate variability and change
Chapter 9 Projections of future climate change
Chapter 10 Regional climate information – evaluation and projections
Section 10.3.1.2 – AOGCMs: extremes in current climate
Section 10.3.2.2 – AOGCMs: extremes under climate change
Section 10.4.1.2 - High or variable resolution GCMs: extremes under
Section 10.4.2.2 – High or variable resolution GCMs: extremes under
Section 10.5.1.3 – RCMs: extremes under current climate
Section 10.5.2.2 – RCMs: extremes under climate change
Chapter 14 Advancing our understanding
Section 18.104.22.168 – Extreme events
Extremes in Working Group II Third Assessment Report
Summary for Policymakers
Section 2.5 – Projected changes in climate extremes could have
Chapter 3 Developing and applying scenarios
Section 3.8.5 – Scenarios of changes in climate variability and extreme
Chapter 4 Hydrology and water resources
Section 4.3.8 – Floods
Section 4.3.9 – Droughts
Chapter 8 Insurance and other financial services
Section 8.2 – Relevant extreme events
Chapter 9 Human health
Section 9.4 – Thermal stress
Section 9.5 – Extreme events and weather disasters
Section 9.11.1 – Adaptation options, extreme events and natural disasters
Chapters 10 – 17 are regional chapters, most of which have sections on extremes.
Chapter 19 Vulnerability to climate change and reasons for concern: a synthesis
Section 19.6.3 – Impacts of extremes
Section 19.7.6 – Future research and extremes
Section 22.214.171.124 – Conclusions
IPCC Workshop on Changes in Extreme Weather and Climate Events
Beijing, 11 – 13 June 2002
Recent meetings on extremes
Séminaire Européen de Statistique (SEMSTAT)
Meeting on Extreme Value Theory and Applications, December 10 - 15, 2001;
ACACIA Precipitation Extremes Workshop, April 4–6, 2001, NCAR, Boulder, CO
IPCC Workshop on Changes in Extreme Weather and Climate Events,
11 – 13 June 2002, Beijing.
Workshop on Economic and social impacts of climate extremes: risks and benefits,
October 14-16, 1999, Amsterdam.
Software for extreme value analysis
functions from Stuart Coles (Bristol University), to go with his book
functions written by J. Heffernan (Lancaster University)
EVIS package from A. McNeill (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich)
EVIM package: similar to EVIS, from Faruk Selçuk (Bilkent University, Turkey)
WAFO: part of this huge toolbox is about extremes (Lund University, Sweden)
EVD package: functions for extreme value distributions, from Alec
Stephenson (Lancaster University)
EVDBayes package: functions for Bayesian analysis of extreme value
models, from Alec Stephenson (Lancaster University)
functions from Stuart Coles (Bristol University), to go with his book, converted
to R from Splus by Alec Stephenson (Lancaster University)
Xtremes Package: flexible for a package if you know Pascal, goes with a book
General statistics resources including extreme value routines
Dataplot: free public domain software for scientific visualization and statistical
analysis, includes GEV and GPD distributions (US National Institute
of Standards and Technology)
Statlib: statistical software and datasets, including those from Applied Statistics. Lots of source code.
Theory of extreme value analysis
References on ‘How to do extreme value analysis’
Ledermann, W., Lloyd, E., Vajda, S. & Alexander, C., editors. (1990).
Handbook of Applicable Mathematics Volume 7: Supplement.
Wiley-Interscience, Chichester, 479 pp.
Smith, R.L., (2001). Extreme Values. Chapter 8 in
Environmental Statistics Lecture Notes v. 5, Univ. of North Carolina.
Stedinger, J. R., Vogel, R. M. & Foufoula-Georgiou, E. (1993). Frequency
analysis of extreme events. Chapter 18 in Handbook of Hydrology,
McGraw Hill, New York.
Coles, S. (2001). An Introduction to Statistical Modelling of Extreme Values.
Springer-Verlag. London, 208 pp.
Kotz, S. & Nadarajah, S. (2000). Extreme Value Distributions: Theory and
Applications. Imperial College Press, 185 pp.
Reiss, R.-D., & Thomas, M. (2001). Statistical Analysis of Extreme Values:
from Insurance, Finance, Hydrology and Other Fields.
Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, 443 pp.
Further reading on techniques
Adler, R.J., Feldman, R.E., & Taqqu, M.S., editors (2000).
A Practical Guide to Heavy Tails: Statistical Techniques and Applications.
Birkhäuser, Boston, 533 pp.
Links to practitioners with a climate change interest
More on the statistical side:
More on the climate change side:
Recent references on extremes and climate change
Changnon SA, Changnon JM, Hewings GD (2001). Losses caused by weather and climate extremes: A national index for the United States. Physical Geography 22:1-27.
Diaz J, Jordan A, Garcia R, Lopez C, Alberdi JC, Hernandez E, Otero A (2002). Heat waves in Madrid 1986-1997: effects on the health of the elderly. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 75:163-170.
Easterling DR, Meehl GA, Parmesan C, Changnon SA, Karl TR, Mearns LO (2000). Climate extremes: Observations, modeling, and impacts. Science 289:2068-2074.
Frei C, Schar C (2001). Detection probability of trends in rare events: Theory and application to heavy precipitation in the Alpine region. Journal of Climate 14:1568-1584.
Huth R, Kysely J, Pokorna L (2000). A GCM simulation of heat waves, dry spells, and their relationships to circulation. Climatic Change 46:29-60.
Katz RW (2002). Techniques for estimating uncertainty in climate change scenarios and impact studies. Climate Research 20:167-185.
Kharin VV, Zwiers FW (2000). Changes in the extremes in an ensemble of transient climate simulations with a coupled atmosphere-ocean GCM. Journal of Climate 13:3760-3788.
Kysely J and Huth R (2001). 2001_St_Lesna_KyselyExtreme temperature events in Central Europe:
are climate models able to reproduce them. Proc. Conference "150 years of
Meteorological Service in Central Europe", Slovakia, October 2001 [CD-ROM,14 pp.].
Kysely J (2002). Comparison of extremes in GCM-simulated, downscaled and observed central-European temperature series. Climate Research 20:211-222.
Kysely J (2002). Probability estimates of extreme temperature events: Stochastic modelling approach vs. extreme value distributions. Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica 46:93-112.
Meehl GA, Zwiers F, Evans J, Knutson T, Mearns L, Whetton P (2000). Trends in extreme weather and climate events: Issues related to modeling extremes in projections of future climate change. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 81:427-436.
Raisanen J, Joelsson R (2001). Changes in average and extreme precipitation in two regional climate model experiments. Tellus Series A-Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography 53:547-566.