Climate models predict increasing temperature variability in poor countries

S. Bathiany*, V. Dakos, M. Scheffer, T.M. Lenton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Extreme events such as heat waves are among the most challenging aspects of climate change for societies. We show that climate models consistently project increases in temperature variability in tropical countries over the coming decades, with the Amazon as a particular hotspot of concern. During the season with maximum insolation, temperature variability increases by ~15% per degree of global warming in Amazonia and Southern Africa and by up to 10%°C−1 in the Sahel, India, and Southeast Asia. Mechanisms include drying soils and shifts in atmospheric structure. Outside the tropics, temperature variability is projected to decrease on average because of a reduced meridional temperature gradient and sea-ice loss. The countries that have contributed least to climate change, and are most vulnerable to extreme events, are projected to experience the strongest increase in variability. These changes would therefore amplify the inequality associated with the impacts of a changing climate.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaar5809
JournalScience Advances
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2018

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