Zonally asymmetric component of summer surface temperature trends caused by intraseasonal time-scale processes

Dong Wan Kim, Sukyoung Lee, Joseph P. Clark, Steven B. Feldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent years have witnessed extreme heatwaves in Europe and western North America. This study shows that these regions stand out in the zonally asymmetric component of the long-term trend of boreal summer surface temperature, and that intraseasonal timescale processes play an important role in shaping the zonally asymmetric trend pattern. However, these two regions have warmed by different mechanisms. Over Europe, the warming is mostly caused by the positive trend of the net (downward minus upward) surface shortwave radiation weighted by its intraseasonal timescale connection with the skin temperature. The long-term warming in western North America has been caused by the declining surface latent heat flux (weakened evaporative cooling) weighted by its intraseasonal connection with the skin temperature. These mechanisms are consistent with those identified in earlier studies of individual extreme events in the two regions, indicating that part of the long trends are a manifestation of extreme events. The overall findings indicate that to make accurate projections of regional climate change using climate model simulations, it is critical to ensure that the models also accurately simulate intraseasonal variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number197
Journalnpj Climate and Atmospheric Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science

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