S165 Climatology and Trends of Heatwaves in the Southeast United States

Sunday, 7 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 5 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Shealynn Cloutier Bisbee, Embry Riddle Aeronautical Univeristy, Daytona Beach, FL; and S. M. Milrad

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. Using a percentile-based heatwave definition applied to station daily maximum, minimum, and average temperature data, trends in the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves were investigated. In order to isolate the effect of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) on heatwaves, four major cities across the southeast were investigated and compared to six major cities on the Florida peninsula from 1950–2016. Initial results show that coastal southeast U.S. heatwave frequency and trends at locations such as New Orleans may be most similar to cities in the Florida peninsula, due in part to the proximity of warming SSTs. The most substantial trends, especially near large bodies of water, are found in minimum temperature heatwaves.
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