, Volume 100, Issue 1, pp 71-76
Date: 20 May 2010

Statistics of extremes in climate change

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Abstract

This editorial essay concerns the use (or lack thereof) of the statistics of extremes in climate change research. So far, the statistical theory of extreme values has been primarily applied to climate under the assumption of stationarity. How this theory can be applied in the context of climate change, including implications for the analysis of the economic impacts of extremes, is described. Future research challenges include the statistical modeling of complex extreme events, such as heat waves, and taking into account spatial dependence in the statistical modeling of extremes for fields of climate observations or of numerical model output. Addressing these challenges will require increased collaboration between climate scientists and statisticians.