Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Alumnus Evan Oswald’s paper on extreme heat events

Posted: November 5, 2013

Alumnus Dr. Evan Oswald and Professor Ricky Rood recently published a paper in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology titled, “A trend analysis of the 1930-2010 extreme heat events in the continental U.S.”

When comparing the hot temperatures in the present day to those in the 1930s, the research shows there are several differences that suggest the increase in present day extreme heat events are not just natural variability.

For example, daytime extreme heat waves are less commonplace today than they were in the 1930s, while nighttime extreme heat waves are more common. This is consistent with increases of greenhouse gases and urbanization.

Thus, according to the paper, global climate models that well represent both the important natural- and anthropogenic-related factors will likely best predict the future changes in continental U.S. extreme heat.

It’s important to work on predicting future extreme heat events since they have major health impacts. From a health perspective, changes in climate and social vulnerability to heat, heat health warning systems and heat action plans should be in place.

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