prof. dr. Miralles Diego
Triggers and drivers of recent droughts and heatwaves
Climate change is a slow process that happens over decades or centuries. Weather refers to the temperature, the amount of rain and other conditions that occur at a particular time and place. Even without climate warming, weather can vary dramatically from year to year in the same place. That normal variability makes it difficult for scientists to figure out whether global warming is responsible for making any particular weather event more extreme. But scientists can calculate whether climate change makes an extreme weather event more likely. We are currently investigating the physical processes underlying droughts and heatwaves based on satellite data, balloon measurements, in situ data and soil-vegetation-atmosphere models. It turns out that atmospheric conditions during extreme events are favoured by land-atmosphere feedbacks that occur as soils dry.
The long-term goal of this research is to improve predictability, management and adaptation.