New study predicts climate extremes for the Eastern U.S.

December 19, 2012CLIMATEFrom extreme drought to super storms, many wonder what the future holds for the climate of the eastern United States. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, does away with the guessing. Results show the region will be hotter and wetter. Joshua Fu, a civil and environmental engineering professor, and Yang Gao, a graduate research assistant, developed precise scales of cities which act as a climate crystal ball seeing high resolution climate changes almost 50 years into the future. The study found that heat waves will become more severe in most regions of the eastern United States and, that both the Northeast and Southeast will see a drastic increase in precipitation. The findings are published in Environmental Research Letters. Harnessing the supercomputing power of UT’s Kraken and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Jaguar (now Titan, the fastest in the world), the researchers combined high-resolution topography, land use information and climate modeling. Then they used dynamical downscaling to develop their climate model results. Dynamical downscaling allowed the researchers to develop climate scales as small as four square kilometers. “Instead of studying regions, which is not useful when examining extreme weather, dynamical downscaling allows us to study small areas such as cities with a fine resolution,” said Fu, who is also a professor within the UT-ORNL Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE). The researchers evaluated extreme events along with daily maximum and minimum temperatures and daily precipitation. For the 23 states east of the Mississippi River, they analyzed the present-day climate from 2001 to 2004 and predicted the future climate from 2057 to 2059. This is the first study to predict heat waves for the top 20 cities in the eastern U.S. For example, Nashville will see a temperature rise of 3.21 degrees Celsius and Memphis will see a rise of 2.18 degrees Celsius. In comparing present climate to future, the researchers found that heat waves will become more severe throughout the eastern part of the nation. The Northeast and eastern Midwest will experience a greater increase in heat waves than the Southeast, which will almost equalize the temperatures between the future North and current South. “Currently, the mean heat wave duration is about four days in the Northeast and eastern Midwest and five days in the Southeast,” said Fu. “By the end of the 2050s, the Northeast and eastern Midwest will be gaining on the Southeast by increasing two days.” In addition, the Northeast and eastern Midwest are likely to suffer from steeper increases in the severity of heat waves. “While the Southeast has the highest intensity in heat waves, the northeast is likely to experience the highest increase,” said Fu. “We are looking at temperature increases of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, with New York experiencing the highest hike.” Both the Northeast and Southeast will experience an increase of precipitation of 35 percent or more. Most coastal states will see the greatest increase, of about 150 millimeters a year. Taking into consideration heat waves and extreme precipitation, the Northeast shows the largest increases in precipitation. This suggests a greater risk of flooding. –SD
This entry was posted in Civilizations unraveling, Climate unraveling, Deluge from torrential rains, Drought, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Extreme Weather Event, Time - Event Acceleration, Tornado Outbreak. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to New study predicts climate extremes for the Eastern U.S.

  1. James says:

    I am happy I live in the west


  2. scizzorbill says:

    All very erudite and on the surface it looks like they have a winning forecast except for one thing: climate models are included to divine future weather. These models are notoriously inaccurate. They didn’t forecast the current 16 year cooling period, and have failed miserably on projected sea level rise. I don’t believe a word of this study.


  3. Paul Mittermeier says:

    Wow we can’t predict accurate weather five days away, but now someone is telling me what the climate is going to be 50 years from now?


    • Adam Murphy says:

      Haha! Nicely said. We had moderate temps forecasted here in south GA and now, starting tomorrow, we are supposed to be in the 50’s for highs and the low 30’s upper 20’s for the next 3 days…. that’s not moderate for south GA. If they can predict the weather down here for 50 years then I will be joining my friends in their farming endeavours.


  4. Irene C says:

    I have lived in Ohio all of my life, and I can honestly say that our climate is definitely getting warmer here. Without getting into whether it’s man-made, a natural cycle, or planned by God, we are definitely witnessing climate change. Last year was one of the hottest we have ever had since they started keeping records. And on the opposite end, Europe seems to be have much cooler temps. We have to pay attention to the changes and be prepared.


  5. niebo says:

    Since these guys have chosen to examine comprehensive data in city-by-city narrow-focus (i.e., micro-climates?), I suppose it would be stoopid of me to wonder if this study considers the “wandering” pole and its effect upon the jet-stream. . . .


  6. Stefan says:

    Everyone seem to worry about IF it gets warmer, but IF it gets cooler we are more in to trouble…. Nobody talk about that IF… I think a lower temp is worse than a warm temp.

    As Irene C says it has getting far cooler in Europe where i live, in southern Sweden. For some years now the summer has been cooler and cooler each year. Something is definitely going on around our planet, but what will it end with ?


  7. musivick says:

    HOT & WETTER .. exactly why i moved from PA to SC…
    but why forecast for the years 2057 – 2059…
    it’s what happens beetween 2013 -thru-2057 that i am concerned with


  8. Michael Jonah says:



  9. davidnrobyn says:

    This is interesting…anyone who looks at 10-day forecasts with a knowledge of local climate realizes that as the projection gets farther into the future, the forecasters routinely forecast closer and closer to climatic averages. For instance, if the average daytime high/overnight low is 70 and 50 degrees, at 10 days out that’s what they’ll be forecasting (I think it’s called CYA). So these guys think that they can give accurate projections decades out?


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