Severe cold streaks could persist well into the future despite global warming, a climate modelling study finds.

Auroop Ganguly and his colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee compared data from extreme cold events between 1991 and 2000 with projections made by nine global climate models for 2091–2100. Their results show that by the end of this century, extreme cold snaps in many parts of the world could be more intense and more prolonged — although less frequent — than the twentieth-century average.

The team suggests that governments will still need to plan for cold spells even as the world warms.

Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1029/2011GL047103 (2011)