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Assessing internal changes in the future structure of dry–hot compound events: the case of the Pyrenees

Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences , Volume 21, pp 1721-1738; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1721-2021

Abstract: Impacts upon vulnerable areas such as mountain ranges may become greater under a future scenario of adverse climatic conditions. In this sense, the concurrence of long dry spells and extremely hot temperatures can induce environmental risks such as wildfires, crop yield losses or other problems, the consequences of which could be much more serious than if these events were to occur separately in time (e.g. only long dry spells). The present study attempts to address recent and future changes in the following dimensions: duration (D), magnitude (M) and extreme magnitude (EM) of compound dry–hot events in the Pyrenees. The analysis focuses upon changes in the extremely long dry spells and extremely high temperatures that occur within these dry periods in order to estimate whether the internal structure of the compound event underwent a change in the observed period (1981–2015) and whether it will change in the future (2006–2100) under intermediate (RCP4.5, where RCP is representative concentration pathway) and high (RCP8.5) emission scenarios. To this end, we quantified the changes in the temporal trends of such events, as well as changes in the bivariate probability density functions for the main Pyrenean regions. The results showed that to date the risk of the compound event has increased by only one dimension – magnitude (including extreme magnitude) – during the last few decades. In relation to the future, increase in risk was found to be associated with an increase in both the magnitude and the duration (extremely long dry spells) of the compound event throughout the Pyrenees during the spring under RCP8.5 and in the northernmost part of this mountain range during summer under this same scenario.
Keywords: compound event / extremely long dry spells / events / functions
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