State-of-the-art global models underestimate impacts from climate extremes

Using the 2003 European heat wave and drought as a historical extreme climate event, this study tests whether global impact models of natural and human systems can capture the impacts of extreme climate conditions. Results suggest that a majority of global impact models underestimate the extremeness of impacts in sectors such as agriculture, terrestrial ecosystems, and heat-related human mortality, while impacts on water resources and hydro-power are overestimated in some river basins. These findings have important implications for management and policy and suggest that societal risks from future extreme events may be greater than previously thought.

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