Aude – Climate: “From 2040-2050, the average temperature of 2022 will be the temperature of a normal year in the most pessimistic scenario”

Florence Weisse is the regional representative of Météo France Languedoc and Roussillon in the South-East interregional office. It looks ahead to the 2022 estimate and hints at possible evolution in the coming decades.

How to place this year 2022 on the scale of climate evolution observed in recent years?

2022 is the 9th consecutive year of above-normal average temperatures in the Aude. This ongoing streak is a symptom of accelerating global warming. The Mediterranean basin is a “hotspot” for global warming, with various climate projection models consistent with more marked increases in temperature than other regions of the world. The reasons for this are difficult to explain precisely, because different regions of the world react differently according to their interaction with the oceans, according to the hemisphere, according to the western or eastern sides of the continents in temperate latitudes. But even though average temperatures are rising and we’ve been breaking records regularly since 2015, this year 2022 really stands out.

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Aude – Climate: why 2022 will be an exceptional year

Can we now say that multiple records set in 2022 will become the norm for decades to come?

The answer to this question can be found in the graphs of climate change, which show the projections for the near years simulated according to the three RCP evolution scenarios.

. Climate projections in Languedoc-Roussillon indicate that global warming will continue until the 2050s regardless of the scenario; The evolution of mean annual temperature in the second half of the 21st century differs significantly depending on the scenario considered. If we take the average temperature of Languedoc-Roussillon in 2022, we see that it is at the median of the projections for the RCP 8.5 scenario in 2040-2050. This would make 2022 the “normal” year for this period, in the most pessimistic scenario of no effort on greenhouse gas emissions.

Can we also plan for the first months of 2023?

No temperature and precipitation scenarios emerge for France for early 2023: this means that average temperatures for the three months from January to March should be close to normal. For rainfall, it should be noted that this most likely scenario is on a quarterly scale and does not exclude occasional episodes with rainfall that may be locally high.
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Aude / Climate: Météo France’s new tool “Climadiag Commune” allows you to project yourself in 2050

And for years to come?

We cannot answer for the next few years. Like next summer or winter 2023-2024. But the likelihood of warmer seasons and years than the current norm calculated for 1991-2020 is increasing, with longer, more intense heat wave episodes like the one in 2022 becoming more likely. Indeed, the warming signal is more pronounced in summer seasons than in winter seasons. That doesn’t preclude a slightly more “normal” year like 2021, or even a bit lower from time to time. For precipitation, strong interannual variability can produce wetter years alternating with drier years, the signal being less strong. But one of the consequences of these two factors is drought, which will generally tend to be the driest, mainly because of rising temperatures, which will increase water evaporation from the ground and plants will draw more water through evaporation. or less deep layers. A recent study by Inrae shows that the areas potentially affected by forest fires in Languedoc-Roussillon are increasing.

The RCP (representative concentration pathway) scenarios are four reference scenarios for the evolution of radiative forcing over the period 2006–2300: from the most optimistic RCP 2.6 to the most pessimistic RCP 8.5, which are used to develop climate projections. Radiative forcing is the change in the radiation balance (the difference between incoming radiation and outgoing radiation) due to a change in one of the climate change factors, such as the concentration of greenhouse gases.

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