B
Prospectus for Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3

Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate

1.
Overview: Description of Topic, Audience, Intended Use, and Questions to Be Addressed

The impact of climate extremes can be severe and wide-ranging. Extremes affect all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, utilities, transportation, water resources, and the insurance industry. The costs of weather-related disasters can be considerable. The U.S. National Climatic Data Center maintains a web page (<http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/reports/billionz.html>) that describes those events that have had the greatest economic impact in the U.S. since 1980. During the period 1980-2005, the U.S. experienced 67 weather-related disasters in which overall damages exceeded $1 billion at the time of the event (and subsequently adjusted in terms of constant dollars).


Clearly, the direct impact of extreme weather and climate events on the U.S. economy is substantial. However, the evidence for increases in extreme weather and climate events varies, depending on the event of interest (e.g., changes in heavy and extreme precipitation, frost days, heavy snow events, etc.).


A workshop convened in Bermuda in October, 2005 assembled climate scientists and insurers/reinsurers to assess the current state of knowledge of climate extremes. A summary of the meeting is available in EOS (Vol. 87, No. 3, January 17, 2006). The meeting addressed anticipated changes in the frequency of extreme events in response to global warming; whether these changes could be bounded; and the observations needed to improve our knowledge, i.e., improve models and the statistics of extremes. Hurricanes were of particular interest because of recent, very active seasons and the large impact on the insurance industry. The workshop recognized the importance of both observations and models to accurately quantify risk. The need to better understand the natural and anthropogenic drivers of changes in climate extremes was underscored.


Recent and ongoing Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessments have evaluated extreme weather and climate events in the context of climate change on a global basis. However, there has not yet been specific focus on those events in North America, where observing systems are among the best in the world.


There is also environmental evidence that changes in weather and climate extremes have important biological impacts for both natural and managed ecosystems. In addition, there are



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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” B Prospectus for Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3 Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate 1. Overview: Description of Topic, Audience, Intended Use, and Questions to Be Addressed The impact of climate extremes can be severe and wide-ranging. Extremes affect all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, utilities, transportation, water resources, and the insurance industry. The costs of weather-related disasters can be considerable. The U.S. National Climatic Data Center maintains a web page (<http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/reports/billionz.html>) that describes those events that have had the greatest economic impact in the U.S. since 1980. During the period 1980-2005, the U.S. experienced 67 weather-related disasters in which overall damages exceeded $1 billion at the time of the event (and subsequently adjusted in terms of constant dollars). Clearly, the direct impact of extreme weather and climate events on the U.S. economy is substantial. However, the evidence for increases in extreme weather and climate events varies, depending on the event of interest (e.g., changes in heavy and extreme precipitation, frost days, heavy snow events, etc.). A workshop convened in Bermuda in October, 2005 assembled climate scientists and insurers/reinsurers to assess the current state of knowledge of climate extremes. A summary of the meeting is available in EOS (Vol. 87, No. 3, January 17, 2006). The meeting addressed anticipated changes in the frequency of extreme events in response to global warming; whether these changes could be bounded; and the observations needed to improve our knowledge, i.e., improve models and the statistics of extremes. Hurricanes were of particular interest because of recent, very active seasons and the large impact on the insurance industry. The workshop recognized the importance of both observations and models to accurately quantify risk. The need to better understand the natural and anthropogenic drivers of changes in climate extremes was underscored. Recent and ongoing Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessments have evaluated extreme weather and climate events in the context of climate change on a global basis. However, there has not yet been specific focus on those events in North America, where observing systems are among the best in the world. There is also environmental evidence that changes in weather and climate extremes have important biological impacts for both natural and managed ecosystems. In addition, there are

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” prospects from climate model simulations that a gradually warming world will be accompanied by changes in the variability and frequency of weather and climate extremes. For all these reasons monitoring changes and variations in weather and climate extremes and assessing what we know and do not know regarding future changes is important for both socio-economic and environmental interests. Therefore, it is timely to undertake an in-depth assessment of the state of our knowledge for North America, where we live, work, grow much of our food, etc. Extreme weather and climate events span many weather and climate variables, and an important aspect of this synthesis and assessment report will be to identify those key variables or indices that may provide important information related to socio-economic or environmental impacts. Identifying recent changes and trends in these parameters will be a focus of the report, as well as identifying what can be said about future changes. Examples of some of the key variables include temperature-related parameters (severe freezes, heat waves), precipitation-related parameters (wet spells, heavy precipitation events, droughts), tropical and extra-tropical storm frequency and intensity, ice and hail, snow cover and depth, etc. Since extreme weather and climate events on a global scale are regularly addressed in international assessments, this CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Report will focus on weather and climate extremes primarily across Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including its territories. In accordance with CCSP guidelines, the synthesis and assessment products are intended to support informed discussion and decision-making regarding climate variability and change by policy makers, resource managers, stakeholders, the media, and the general public. This report also should have particular value to ongoing free-trade agreements (Canada, U.S., and Mexico) and bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements related to the management of natural resources in North America. 2. Contact Information for Responsible Individuals at the Lead and Supporting Agencies The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead agency for this synthesis and assessment product. Relevant agency personnel are presented in the following table: CCSP Member Agency Agency Leads Department of Commerce (NOAA) Thomas Karl, Christopher Miller Department of Energy Anjuli Bamzai National Aeronautics and Space Administration Don Anderson, Tsengdar Lee U.S. Geological Survey Tom Armstrong 3. Lead Authors: Required Expertise of Lead Authors and Biographical Information for Proposed Lead Authors The author team for this Product will be constituted as a Federal Advisory Committee in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 as amended, 5 U.S.C. App.2. Each author team member shall be appointed for a term of two years, and will serve at the discretion of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Appointments are renewable for additional terms. Committee members will include non-Federal experts and

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” Federal officials who are also experts and who may remain on the committee should they leave Federal service. Non-federal employee committee members will be subject to the ethical standards applicable to Special Government Employees and to Departmental and FACA vetting procedures. The Committee Charter, a list of Committee members, and meeting announcement information will be made available to the public on a dedicated web page. Committee meetings will also be announced in the Federal Register at least 15 days in advance and these meetings will be open to the public. All materials made available to the Committee, as well as meeting reports, will be made available to the public unless subject to exemption under the Freedom of Information Act. The list of author team nominees presented in Appendix A is proposed based on their records of interest and accomplishment in framing the core issues related to changes, trends, and uncertainties in the occurrence of extreme climate events and their impacts, advancing relevant scientific arguments, and contributing to increased understanding of the behavior of respective components of the end-to-end system that provides the required data sets. Past contributions to relevant scientific assessments, publication records in refereed journals, and committee balance and diversity are among the measures used in the selection process. Dr. Thomas Karl, the Director of the National Climatic Data Center, and Dr. Gerald Meehl, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, are nominated as co-Chairs of the FACA Committee. Once the nominations have been approved and vetting has been completed, the chapter assignments proposed in Section 5 of this Prospectus will be confirmed. 4. Stakeholder Interactions An initial workshop was held in July 2005 to bring together a number of leading scientists in the area of climate extremes and members of key segments of the stakeholder community. The primary objective of this workshop was to help frame the critical issues related to this synthesis and assessment. This framework included various aspects of the science, impacts, and stakeholders’ concerns related to the changes and variations of weather and climate extremes. A specific outcome was an outline of an action plan to produce the required CCSP product, i.e., an assessment report on weather and climate extremes. A second workshop, this one focusing more on the impacts of extreme weather and climate events for a specific stakeholder community occurred in October 2005. The output from the second workshop was used to help refine critical issues the report will address. In summary, the general objectives of these workshops were to: (1) identify a framework to define climate weather and extremes with particular ecological or economic impact; (2) assess the state of the science in the historical and contemporary measurement of weather and climate extremes; (3) examine and clarify our ability to report on observed changes and variations; (4) examine what, if anything, we can say about future changes suggested by climate models or other relevant information, including changes in the frequency, intensity, and duration of extremes; and (5) define the measurements, analyses, and other actions required to improve our understanding of future variations and changes in weather and climate extremes. These issues will be the focus of the CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3.

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” 5. Drafting, Including Materials to Be Used in Preparing the Product The lead NOAA focal point, Dr. Thomas Karl, is the Editor-in-Chief. The assistant NOAA focal point, Dr. Christopher Miller, serves as the Associate Editor. This report will be prepared in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the report development team will be constituted and operated under FACA guidelines. The report will be written in a style consistent with major international scientific assessments [e.g., IPCC assessments, and the Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project (WMO, 1999)]. The main body of this report will be presented in four chapters, the contents of which will be summarized in an Executive Summary (ES): Chapter 1. Why weather and climate extremes matter 1.1 Why are extremes important? 1.2 Defining extremes in relation to social, economic and environmental impacts. 1.3 Measures of weather and climate extremes and their data limitations. Proposed Convening Lead Author (CLA): Thomas Peterson Proposed Lead Authors (LA): David Phillips, Camille Parmesan, John Stone (also ES), David Anderson, Miguel Cortez, Richard Murnane (also ES), Roger Pulwarty, Stewart Cohen (also ES) Chapter 2. Observed changes of weather and climate extremes 2.1 Observed changes and variations in weather and climate extremes. 2.2 Key uncertainties related to measuring specific variations and changes. Proposed Convening Lead Author (CLA): Kenneth Kunkel Proposed Lead Authors (LA): David Levinson, Tereza Cavazos, Arthur Douglas, Harold Brooks, David Easterling, Kerry Emanuel, Charles Watson, Pavel Groisman, Richard Smith, Peter Bromirski, Paul Komar Chapter 3. Do we understand the causes of observed changes in extremes and what are the projected future changes? 3.1 What are the physical mechanisms of observed changes in extremes? 3.2 Attributing observed changes to external forcing. 3.3 Projected future changes in extremes, their causes, mechanisms and uncertainties. Proposed Convening Lead Author (CLA): William Gutowski Proposed Lead Authors (LA): Linda Mearns, Greg Holland, Gabriele Hegerl, Francis Zwiers, Ronald Stouffer, Peter Webster, Thomas Knutson (also ES) Chapter 4. Recommendations for Improving our Understanding: Proposed Convening Lead Author (CLA): David Easterling Proposed Lead Authors (LA): Thomas Peterson (also ES), Kenneth Kunkel (also ES), William Gutowski (also ES) Executive Summary Proposed Convening Lead Authors (CLA): Gerald Meehl, Thomas Karl Proposed Lead Authors (LA): Thomas Peterson, Kenneth Kunkel, William Gutowski, David Easterling, Rick Murnane, Stewart Cohen, Thomas Knutson, John Stone

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” Under the leadership of the convening lead author for each of the main report chapters, the lead authors and contributors will prepare the scientific/technical analysis section of the synthesis and assessment report. They will draw upon published, peer-reviewed scientific literature in the drafting process, complemented, if necessary and if approved by the CCSP Principals, with information that has not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. The synthesis and assessment product will include an Executive Summary that will present key findings from each of the report chapters. It will be written by a team consisting of the Executive Summary convening lead authors assisted by the convening lead authors from each of the chapters. The synthesis and assessment product will strive to reach consensus on the issues covered and will seek to avoid the need to include disparate views in the report chapters and in the Executive Summary. It also will include a recommendation on steps to better understand the frequency and severity of future climate extremes and improve the predictions and projections of those extremes. The strategy for proceeding from the initiation of the effort, through the sequence of draft versions, to the final version will be in accordance with “Climate Change Science Program Guidelines for Producing CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products” as presented on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program web page. 6. Review The CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Products are classified as “highly influential” under the terms of the Office of Management and Budget’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review (issued 16 December 2004). The review process will be conducted in accordance with the OMB guidelines, which include making the peer review plan web accessible. NOAA, the lead agency for this product, plans to present Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3 to the NRC for scientific review. The reviewers, who will be selected by the NRC, will be charged to focus on the scientific and technical content of the draft report to ensure that the report adequately answers the questions posed in the approved prospectus, that the report is objective, unbiased, and does not contain policy recommendations, and that the report is written at a level appropriate for the intended audience that will include government and private sector managers and decision makers. Upon receipt of the expert review comments, all comments will be considered and addressed. The lead agency will disseminate the peer review report, including the agency’s response to the review, on the agency’s web site. A second draft of the product will be prepared and released for a 45-day public comment period. The lead authors will prepare a third draft of the product in response to the public comments, incorporating changes, as appropriate.

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” The third draft of the document will be submitted to the CCSP Principals for final review and subsequent submission to the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) for approval for release. 7. Related activities: Coordination with Other National or International Assessment Processes This CCSP synthesis and assessment product will be coordinated internationally through the planned direct involvement of international participants in the author and stakeholder groups. In addition, the synthesis and assessment product is expected to complement the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, that is also due for release in 2007. The IPCC Report will focus on the behavior of extremes from the global perspective, while the CCSP report will emphasize extremes as experienced primarily on the North American continent. 8. Communications The first (peer review version), second (public comment version), and third (post-public comment version) drafts of the product will be posted on the CCSP web site. Once the NSTC approval has been obtained and the product is finalized, NOAA, the lead agency, will produce and release the completed product using a standard format for all CCSP synthesis and assessment products. The final product, the comments received during the expert review (without attribution unless specific reviewers agree to attribution), the responses to the expert review comments, and the comments received during the public comment period will be posted on the CCSP web site. In addition to the formal dissemination requirements listed above, the lead authors will be encouraged to publish their findings in the scientific literature. 9. Chronology CY 2005 Aspen Workshop: “North American Weather and Climate Extremes – Progress in Monitoring and Research” – July 15-21 November CCSP Stakeholder Workshop - November 14-16 CY 2006 Draft Prospectus Submitted to CCSP Interagency Committee for Approval – March 3 Draft Prospectus Approved – April 4 Draft Prospectus Released for Public Comment – April 12 Public Comment Period Completed - May 12 Draft FACA Charter Submitted for Approval - May 20 Revised Prospectus Submitted to CCSP Interagency Committee for Approval - July 1 Prospectus Approved by CCSP Interagency Committee - July 15 Draft Prospectus, Public Comments, and Final Prospectus Posted on CCSP Website - July

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” 20 CY 2007 First Draft of the Synthesis and Assessment Product Report Submitted for Expert Review – February 15 Expert Review of the Synthesis and Assessment Product Report Completed - May 15 Second Draft of the Synthesis and Assessment Product Report Released for Public Comment –August 15 Second Draft Public Comment Period Completed –October 1 Third Draft of the Synthesis and Assessment Product Report Completed and Submitted to CCSP for posting and Interagency Committee Review – December 20 CY 2008 CCSP Interagency Committee Review of Third Draft Completed - January 15 Third Draft Report Submitted to NSTC for Final Review and Approval – January 31 Web Version of the Synthesis and Assessment Product Report Posted on CCSP Website – February 28 Hardcopy of the Synthesis and Assessment Product Report Published – April 15 10. List of Lead Authors David M. Anderson, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center; Director, World Data Center for Paleoclimatology; Associate Professor, Adjoint at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Peter D. Bromirski, Assistant Project Scientist, Integrated Oceanography Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla. Harold Brooks, Research Meteorologist and Head of the Mesoscale Applications Group, NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory. Tereza Cavazos, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Oceanography, CICESE, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Stewart J. Cohen, Research scientist, Adaptation and Impacts Research Group (AIRG), Environment Canada; Adjunct Professor, Sustainable Development Research Institute (SDRI), University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver.

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” Miguel Cortez, Climatologist and Lead of the Climate Section, Mexican National Meteorological Service; Lecturer, Department of Geography, National University of Mexico. Arthur Douglas, Professor and Chair, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, Creighton University. David Easterling, Chief, Scientific Services Division, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pavel Ya. Groisman, UCAR Project Scientist at the NOAA/NESDIS National Climatic Data Center. William J. Gutowski, Jr., Professor of Meteorology, Iowa State University, Ames. Gabriele Hegerl, Associate Research Professor, Duke University. Greg Holland, Director Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Thomas R. Karl Director, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center; Program Manager, NOAA’s Climate Observations and Analysis Program; Director, NOAA’s Climate Change Data and Detection Applied Research Center. Thomas Knutson, Research Meteorologist, NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. Paul Komar, Emeritus Professor of Oceanography, Oregon State University, Corvallis. Kenneth E. Kunkel, Director, Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and an affiliated agency of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Adjunct Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois. David Levinson, Physical Scientist, Climate Monitoring Branch, NOAA's

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” National Climatic Data Center. Linda Mearns, Senior Scientist and Director, Institute for the Study of Society and the Environment, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Gerald A. Meehl, Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Richard J. Murnane, Associate Research Scientist, Bermuda Biological Station for Research; Program Manager, Risk Prediction Initiative (RPI). Camille Parmesan, Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin. Thomas C. Peterson, Research Meteorologist, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment Canada. Roger S. Pulwarty, Research Scientist, NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center and University of Colorado Richard L. Smith, Mark L. Reed III Distinguished Professor of Statistics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. John Stone, Executive Director (Climate Change) Canadian Department of Environment (retired). Ronald J Stouffer, Climate Scientist, NOAA's Geophysical Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, NJ. He is a member of the CMIP (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) panel and PMIP (PaleoModeling Intercomparison Project) panels. He has served on a number of WCRP (World Climate Research Project) committees involving climate modeling. Stouffer has been a lead author in the past 2 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Scientific Assessment reports and is a lead author in the current IPCC report under development. His research interests include projections of future climate change and the study of past and present climates. Relevant publications include: Charles C Watson Jr., Director Research and Development of Kinetic Analysis Corporation,

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Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” Peter Webster, Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. Francis Zwiers, Senior Research Scientist and Chief, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis; Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria.