Celsius Lecturer: Sonia Seneviratne
Wednesday February 9, 09.00-11.30
Welcome to the 2022 Celsius-Linnaeus Lecturers
Vice-chancellor Anders Hagfeldt, Vice rector Johan Tysk and the Chairman for the Celsius-Linnaeus Committee, Máté Erdélyi
Droughts and heatwaves in a changing climate: Why every year matters
Sonia I. Seneviratne, Professor for Land-Climate Dynamics at ETH Zurich
10.15 - short break
The past is the key to the future - climate change over geological time
Thomas Stevens, Associate Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University
Water and climate - interplaying systems in change
Georgia Destouni, Professor of Hydrology, Hydrogeology and Water Resources, Stockholm University
Moderator: Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Professor of Surface Water Hydrology and Environmental Analysis, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University
Sonia Seneviratne is Professor at the Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich since 2007. She did her PhD thesis in 2003 at ETH Zurich and was a Postdoctoral scientist at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center in 2003-2004. Her research addresses climate change and extreme events, land-climate interactions, and terrestrial water processes. She was a Coordinating Lead Author and Lead Author on several IPCC reports, including the IPCC Special Report on Extreme events (SREX), the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C Global warming, and the IPCC 6th Assessment report, on which she was a coordinating lead author of the weather and climate extremes chapter.
Sonia Seneviratne belongs to the most cited scientists in her field. She received several awards for her research, including a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (2014), the Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union (2013), and the Hans Oeschger Medal from the European Geosciences Union (2021).
This presentation will provide an overview of the main conclusions of the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in its 6th assessment cycle. In particular, the latest evidence on past and projected changes in climate extremes will be presented, with a focus on droughts and heatwaves. For the first time, a full chapter of an IPCC assessment report was dedicated to the topic of weather and climate extremes (Seneviratne et al. 2021). The newest evidence shows that changes in extremes are observed in all regions of the world, and that human influence strongly contributed to observed trends. With every increment of global warming, changes in extremes become larger, with important implications for changes in heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones depending on the region. The evidence on observed and projected changes in droughts and heatwaves has particularly strengthened in recent years. All regions are projected to be affected by multiple changes in climate extremes and other climatic impact drivers with increasing global warming, in particular at 2°C of global warming and above. Limiting global warming to close to 1.5°C would be critical to avoid impactful increase in climate extremes, and would require immediate decreases in greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel burning.