Climate model output can also be used to analyze future changes in average and extreme weather events in comparison with the present day climate. For example, changes that affect temperature can include changes in heatwaves, cold events, warm nights etc. Changes likely to affect the hydrological (water) cycle can include changes in average annual and seasonal rainfall, wet spell and drought duration. The left-hand map below shows the projected increase from six regional climate models in the number of heatwave days per year (defined as days where the maximum temperature is above 35°C) between the ‘reference’ period of 1961-1990 and the future period of 2021-2050 for the Mediterranean basin.
Climate model output can also provide insight into the impacts of climate change on various sectors of interest to the economy such as agriculture, energy demand, water supplies, forestry, population health and tourism. Outputs from climate models serve as a vehicle to project sectoral impacts in the future, e.g. to estimate increases in forest fire risk due to the increased number of heatwaves and drought conditions in the future climate. The right-hand map below presents the projected increase from six regional climate models in the number of days per year with extreme forest fire risk between the reference period of 1961-1990 and the future period of 2021-2050 for the Mediterranean basin.