Our planet baked under the sun this summer as temperatures reached the hottest ever measured and heat waves spread across the globe. As the climate continues to warm, scientists expect an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves. A frequently overlooked aspect, however, is the spatial size of the heatwaves, despite their important implications.
In a new study, scientists funded in part by the Climate Observations and Monitoring Program of the NOAA Climate Program Office examined this aspect for the first time in two different scenarios. They found that by the middle of the century, in a scenario with average greenhouse gas emissions, the average size of heat waves could increase by 50%. At high greenhouse gas concentrations, the average size could increase by 80%, and the more extreme heat waves could more than double.
"As the physical size of these affected regions increases, more people will be exposed to heat stress," said Brad Lyon, Associate Research Professor at the University of Maine and lead author of the new article, published in Environmental Research Letters has been. "Greater heat waves would also increase the electrical loads and peak power requirements of the grid as more people and businesses turn on the air conditioner in response." The days, the size and the degree of cooling (a measure of the energy consumption) could increase considerably. Lyon noted, however, that these results were not particularly surprising.
"An increase in attributes such as size and duration is in line with expectations of a warming climate," said Lyon. "What's new in our study is the way we calculated it, which allowed us to look at size as a new heat wave dimension." Generally calculated heat wave statistics at the local level ̵
a park, rather than just counting how many people from all these groups have entered the park, "Lyon said an area of the same size.
" If you have a large contiguous heat wave over a densely populated area When combined, they are the same size, "said Tony Barnston, Chief Forecaster at Columbia University's International Climate and Society Research Institute and co-author of the paper
Considering the heatwaves from this perspective, the author investigated how the magnitude of a heatwave can affect the communities in addition to factors such as intensity and frequency.
Consider the size of the heatwave Future Planning
The authors state that their n euen This approach could help utilities to test the ability of their energy system to meet the demand requirements of spatially extended heat waves for stress testing. This information could then influence management decisions and planning for the future.
"The size of heat waves is another dimension of extreme heat that people do not necessarily think about," said Lyon. "It's a different angle to look at and evaluate their impact."
And as the study suggests, the impact on our nation's energy systems could also increase as greenhouse gases and consequently heat waves continue to increase and public health.
France says 1,500 died in the summer heatwave
Bradfield Lyon et al., Projected Increase in Spatial Extent of Contiguous US Summer Heatwaves and Associated Attributes, Environmental Research Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1088 / 1748-9326 / ab4b41
According to a new study (2019, October 8), heat waves could increase significantly by the middle of the century
retrieved on 8 October 2019
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