J. Phys. IV France
Volume 121, December 2004
Page(s) 139 - 149

J. Phys. IV France 121 (2004) 139-149

DOI: 10.1051/jp4:2004121008

Extreme climatic events: Examples from the alpine region

M. Beniston

Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

This paper provides a general overview of climatic extremes, how they may be defined and what they represent both in statistical and in physical terms, as well as the impacts they are capable of generating. A particular case study, namely the heat wave that affected many parts of Europe from June-August 2003, will be discussed in some detail. The final part of the paper will investigate, on the basis of regional climate model simulations, the manner in which such events may change in the future under enhanced radiative forcing resulting from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Many of the examples shown here originate in the alpine region of Europe that is very sensitive to a number of forms of extreme weather and has a high density and quality of data that make such studies possible.

© EDP Sciences 2004