Approaches to attribution of extreme temperature and precipitation events using multi-model and single-member ensembles of general circulation models
Extreme temperature and precipitation events occurring in Australia in recent decades have caused significant socio-economic and environmental impacts, and thus determining the factors contributing to these extremes is an active area of research. Many recently occurring record-breaking temperature and rainfall events have now been examined from an extreme event attribution (EEA) perspective. This paper describes a set of studies that have examined the causes of extreme climate events using various general circulation models (GCMs), presenting a comprehensive methodology for GCM-based attribution of extremes of temperature and precipitation observed on large spatial and temporal scales in Australia. First, we review how Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models have been used to examine the changing odds of observed extremes. Second, we review how a large perturbed initial condition ensemble of a single climate model (CESM) has been used to quantitatively examine the changing characteristics of Australian heat extremes. For each approach, methodological details and applications are provided and limitations highlighted. The conclusions of this methodological review discuss the limitations and uncertainties associated with this approach and identify key unexplored applications of GCM-based attribution of extremes. Ideally, this information will be useful for the application of the described extreme event attribution approaches elsewhere.