The study covered the entire Mediterranean area, which includes 21 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. Major cities covered in the study include: Prague, Zurich, Bucharest, Athens, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Algiers and Casablanca.
"When high temperature extremes increase, it could have significant negative impacts on human health, water resources, agriculture and energy demand," Pal said.
The results of the study, which originated at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, will be published in the Friday (June 15) issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
In addition to Diffenbaugh and Pal, Filippo Giorgi of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics and Xuejie Gao of the National Climate Center in Beijing are co-authors of the paper. The researchers used a supercomputer in the National Climate Center in Beijing to run the climate model.
The model offers a resolution of 20 kilometers, about 12.5 miles, and is believed to have the highest spatial resolution available for the Mediterranean region. Much like increased resolution in a photo makes a clearer picture and allows one to zoom in without blurring the image, the powerful resolution of the climate model allows researchers to gather detailed information about particular areas.
Giorgi, who is head of the Earth System Physics Section of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, said the Mediterranean is of interest because it is one of the most susceptible areas to climate changes - both climatically and socially.
"In the global warming scenario, there is more warming and drying in the Mediterranean than in other regions of the world, which makes the Mediterranean a climate change 'hotspot,'" Giorgi said. "The Mediterranean also is a very vulnerable region to climate change in terms of the impacts to the way
Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner