Human influence on climate change will fuel more extreme heat waves in the United States
Researchers Provide Analysis of United States Heat Wave Patterns Linked to Climate Change
Human-caused climate change will cause more extreme heat waves in the summer in the US, including in California and the Southwest as early as 2020, according to new research.
The New Analysis of Heat Wave Patterns in the US, Led by Scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (UM) and their colleagues , also found that human-created climate change will be a determining factor for heat wave occurrences in the Great Lakes region by 2030, and in the northern and southern plains by 2050 and 2070, respectively. .
Man-made climate change is the result of increased carbon dioxide and other man-made emissions into the atmosphere.
"These are the years when human contributions to climate change will become as important as natural variability in causing heat waves," said lead author Hosmay López, a CIMAS meteorologist based at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory. . "Without human influence, half of the extreme heat waves expected to occur during this century will not happen."
The study, published online March 19, 2018, in the journal Nature Climate Change, has important implications for the growing population in these regions as heat waves, which are the number one cause of heat-related deaths, climate in the United States has already increased in number and severity in recent decades and is projected to increase well into the 21st century.
López and his colleagues used climate models alongside historical climate data from 1900 to 2010 to project future patterns of heat waves in the United States during the summer months of June through August. The climate change scenarios identified four regions where man-made climate change would be the main cause of heat extremes, outweighing natural climate variability. The researchers defined extreme heat wave events as three or more days of record high temperatures.
“Population growth coupled with the fact that extreme heat is the leading cause of climate-related death in the United States calls for the need to identify the relative roles of internal variability and human-caused climate change in these extremes, ”López said. "This work provides a significant advance in the scientific understanding of future heat wave projections."
The researchers say that regional climate variability, such as differences in atmospheric circulation, precipitation and the existence of green spaces, affect when human-caused climate change will become the main driver of extreme heat events. For example, the researchers found that a low and rapid air circulation pattern in the Great Plains, a type of natural variability, will delay the onset of when human-caused climate change would be the main cause of heat waves in this area. region.
Understanding the driving forces behind the projected increase in the occurrence and severity of heat waves is crucial for public health safety and necessary for communities to develop extreme heat mitigation strategies, the authors said.
Materials provided by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
Hosmay Lopez et al. Early emergence of anthropogenically forced heat waves in the western United States and the Great Lakes. Nature Climate Change, 2018 DOI: 10.1038 / s41558-018-0116-y