The 2010 heatwave in eastern Europe and Russia ranks among the hottest events ever recorded in the region1,2. The excessive summer warmth was related to an anomalously widespread and intense quasi-stationary anticyclonic circulation anomaly over western Russia, reinforced by depletion of spring soil moisture1,3,4,5. At present, high soil moisture levels and strong surface evaporation generally tend to cap maximum summer temperatures6,7,8, but these constraints may weaken under future warming9,10. Here, we use a data assimilation technique in which future climate model simulations are nudged to realistically represent the persistence and strength of the 2010 blocked atmospheric flow. In the future, synoptically driven extreme warming under favourable large-scale atmospheric conditions will no longer be suppressed by abundant soil moisture, leading to a disproportional intensification of future heatwaves. This implies that future mid-latitude heatwaves analogous to the 2010 event will become even more extreme than previously thought, with temperature extremes increasing by 8.4 °C over western Russia. Thus, the socioeconomic impacts of future heatwaves will probably be amplified beyond current estimates.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $17.42 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Barriopedro, D., Fischer, E. M., Luterbacher, J., Trigo, R. M. & Garca-Herrera, R. The hot summer of 2010: redrawing the temperature record map of Europe. Science 332, 220–224 (2011).
Dole, R. et al. Was there a basis for anticipating the 2010 Russian heat wave? Geophys. Res. Lett. 38, L06702 (2011).
Hauser, M., Orth, R. & Seneviratne, S. I. Role of soil moisture versus recent climate change for the 2010 heat wave in western Russia. Geophys. Res. Lett. 43, 2819–2826 (2016).
Miralles, D. G., Teuling, A. J., van Heerwaarden, C. C. & Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J. Mega-heatwave temperatures due to combined soil desiccation and atmospheric heat accumulation. Nat. Geosci. 7, 345–349 (2014).
Lau, W. K. M. & Kim, K.-M. The 2010 Pakistan flood and Russian heat wave: teleconnection of hydrometeorological extremes. J. Hydrometeorol. 13, 392–403 (2012).
Fischer, E. M., Seneviratne, S. I., Lüthi, D. & Schär, C. Contribution of land–atmosphere coupling to recent European summer heat waves. Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, 6707 (2007).
Vautard, R. et al. Summertime European heat and drought waves induced by wintertime Mediterranean rainfall deficit. Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L07711 (2007).
Seneviratne, S. I. et al. Investigating soil moisture–climate interactions in a changing climate: a review. Earth Sci. Rev. 99, 125–161 (2010).
Lenderink, G., van Ulden, A., van den Hurk, B. & van Meijgaard, E. Summertime inter-annual temperature variability in an ensemble of regional model simulations: analysis of the surface energy budget. Climatic Change 81, 233–247 (2007).
Fischer, E. M., Rajczak, J. & Schär, C. Changes in European summer temperature variability revisited. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L19702 (2012).
Schär, C. et al. The role of increasing temperature variability in European summer heatwaves. Nature 427, 332–336 (2004).
Meehl, G. A. & Tebaldi, C. More intense, more frequent, and longer lasting heat waves in the 21st century. Science 305, 994–997 (2004).
Beniston, M. The 2003 heat wave in Europe: A shape of things to come? An analysis based on Swiss climatological data and model simulations. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L02202 (2004).
Trenberth, K. E. & Fasullo, J. T. Climate extremes and climate change: the Russian heat wave and other climate extremes of 2010. J. Geophys. Res. 117, 17103 (2012).
Marotzke, J. et al. Climate research must sharpen its view. Nat. Clim. Change 7, 89–91 (2017).
Brunet, G. et al. Collaboration of the weather and climate communities to advance subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 91, 1397–1406 (2010).
Scaife, A. A., Woollings, T., Knight, J., Martin, G. & Hintn, T. Atmospheric blocking and mean biases in climate models. J. Clim. 23, 6143–6152 (2010).
Russo, S. et al. Magnitude of extreme heat waves in present climate and their projection in a warming world. J. Geophys. Res. 119, 12 (2014).
Barkmeijer, J., Iversen, T. & Palmer, T. N. Forcing singular vectors and other sensitive model structures. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 129, 2401–2423 (2003).
Hazeleger, W. et al. EC-Earth V2.2: description and validation of a new seamless Earth system prediction model. Clim. Dynam. 39, 2611–2629 (2012).
Davies, H. C. & Turner, R. E. Updating prediction models by dynamical relaxation: an examination of the technique. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 103, 225–245 (1977).
Dee, D. P. et al. The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 137, 553–597 (2011).
Tibaldi, S. & Molteni, F. On the operational predictability of blocking. Tellus Ser. A 42, 343 (1990).
Volodin, E. M. & Yurova, A. Y. Summer temperature standard deviation, skewness and strong positive temperature anomalies in the present day climate and under global warming conditions. Clim. Dynam. 40, 1387–1398 (2013).
Della-Marta, P. M. et al. Summer heat waves over western Europe 1880–2003, their relationship to large-scale forcings and predictability. Clim. Dynam. 29, 251–275 (2007).
Klein Tank, A. M. G., Zwiers, F. & Zhang, X. Guidelines on Analysis of Extremes in a Changing Climate in Support of Informed Decisions for Adaptation Report No. 72 (Climate Data and Monitoring Programme, WMO, 2009).
Mueller, B. & Seneviratne, S. I. Hot days induced by precipitation deficits at the global scale. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 109, 12398–12403 (2012).
Palmer, T. N. Extended-range atmospheric prediction and the Lorenz model. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 74, 49–66 (1993).
Rasmijn, L. M., van der Schrier, G., Barkmeijer, J., Sterl, A. & Hazeleger, W. On the use of the forced sensitivity method in climate studies. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 141, 845–853 (2015).
Rasmijn, L. M., van der Schrier, G., Barkmeijer, J., Sterl, A. & Hazeleger, W. Simulating the extreme 2013/2014 winter in a future climate. J. Geophys. Res. 121, 5680–5698 (2016).
The authors would like to thank F. Selten and other colleagues at KNMI for their help and advice. H. de Vries is thanked for providing a code to compute the Tibaldi–Molteni blocking index.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Rasmijn, L.M., van der Schrier, G., Bintanja, R. et al. Future equivalent of 2010 Russian heatwave intensified by weakening soil moisture constraints. Nature Clim Change 8, 381–385 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0114-0
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (2020)
Geophysical Research Letters (2020)
Nature Climate Change (2020)
Spatial variation patterns of plant herbaceous community response to warming along latitudinal and altitudinal gradients in mountainous forests of the Loess Plateau, China
Environmental and Experimental Botany (2020)
Geophysical Research Letters (2020)