Abstract Title

Floridian Heatwaves in a Warming World: Frequency, Intensity, and Duration

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Authors' Class Standing

Shealynn Cloutier-Bisbee, Sophomore Dr. Shawn Milrad, Assistant Professor Ajay Raghavendra, Graduate Student

Lead Presenter's Name

Shealynn Cloutier-Bisbee

Faculty Mentor Name

Shawn Milrad

Abstract

There exists broad scientific consensus that heatwaves are increasing in frequency, duration, and intensity in a warming world, and are generally the most strongly linked extreme weather event to anthropogenic climate change. Due to its predominantly maritime climate, few studies have examined heatwaves in Florida. However, Florida’s older-skewed population and increasingly urban land areas make it particularly susceptible to the impacts of heatwaves on human life and health in the twenty-first century. This project will for the first time establish an objective heatwave metric, climatology, and trend analysis for major cities in Florida from 1950–2015. The metric utilizes multiple temperature variables and various statistical thresholds of heatwave magnitudes and duration. Using data retrieved from the following airports: KTLH, KJAX, KMCO, KDAB, KTPA, KMIA, and KEYW, heatwave events were identified separately for summer (June-August) and winter (December-February) months and the 95th percentile for the maximum, minimum, and average temperatures were calculated. To be considered a heatwave event, the maximum, minimum, or average temperature had to exceed the 95th percentile for three consecutive days with a gap of at least four consecutive days between events. Using the heatwave definition and station temperature data, trends in the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves at each location are investigated. Finally, using reanalysis data, composite dynamic and thermodynamic patterns and mechanisms associated with these heatwaves are elucidated.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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Floridian Heatwaves in a Warming World: Frequency, Intensity, and Duration

There exists broad scientific consensus that heatwaves are increasing in frequency, duration, and intensity in a warming world, and are generally the most strongly linked extreme weather event to anthropogenic climate change. Due to its predominantly maritime climate, few studies have examined heatwaves in Florida. However, Florida’s older-skewed population and increasingly urban land areas make it particularly susceptible to the impacts of heatwaves on human life and health in the twenty-first century. This project will for the first time establish an objective heatwave metric, climatology, and trend analysis for major cities in Florida from 1950–2015. The metric utilizes multiple temperature variables and various statistical thresholds of heatwave magnitudes and duration. Using data retrieved from the following airports: KTLH, KJAX, KMCO, KDAB, KTPA, KMIA, and KEYW, heatwave events were identified separately for summer (June-August) and winter (December-February) months and the 95th percentile for the maximum, minimum, and average temperatures were calculated. To be considered a heatwave event, the maximum, minimum, or average temperature had to exceed the 95th percentile for three consecutive days with a gap of at least four consecutive days between events. Using the heatwave definition and station temperature data, trends in the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves at each location are investigated. Finally, using reanalysis data, composite dynamic and thermodynamic patterns and mechanisms associated with these heatwaves are elucidated.