Left Menu
Development News Edition

Heat waves could increase substantially in size by mid-century: Study

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 09-10-2019 14:01 IST | Created: 09-10-2019 13:42 IST
Heat waves could increase substantially in size by mid-century: Study
Image Credit: Pixabay

The average size of heatwaves could increase by 50 percent by mid-century, in a middle greenhouse gas emissions scenario, according to a study. The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that under high greenhouse gas concentrations, the average size could increase by 80 percent and the more extreme heatwaves could more than double in size.

While the climate continues to warm, scientists expect the frequency and intensity of heatwaves to increasing. However, a commonly overlooked aspect is the spatial size of heatwaves, despite its important implications. "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 in the US.

"Larger heatwaves would also increase electrical loads and peak energy demand on the grid as more people and businesses turn on air conditioning in response," Lyon said. In addition to heatwave size and exposed population, the researchers found that related attributes like duration, magnitude, and cooling degree days -- a measure for energy use -- could increase substantially.

However, Lyon noted that these results were not particularly surprising. "An increase in attributes like magnitude and duration is consistent with expectations of a warming climate," said Lyon.

"What is new in our study is the way we calculated them, which allowed us to consider size as a new heatwave dimension," he said. Previous research has generally calculated heatwave statistics at the local level -- computing attributes like frequency for each location, or grid point, and then aggregating the results to see spatial patterns.

In this study, the researchers followed heatwaves and quantified their attributes as connected regions that move around and change in size and strength over their lifetime. "It's sort of like watching what groups of people are doing as they move around together in a park, rather than just counting how many people from all those groups entered the park," said Lyon.

The researchers explained that the added stress from a continuous heatwave in a region is very different from scattered conditions that add up to an area of the same size. "If you have a large contiguous heatwave over a highly-populated area, it would be harder for that area to meet peak electric demand than it would be for several areas with smaller heat waves that, when combined, are the same size," said Tony Barnston, Chief Forecaster at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society.

By looking at heat waves from this perspective, the researchers were able to assess how a heat wave's size, in addition to factors like its intensity and frequency, can impact communities. They note that their new approach could help utility stress test their energy system's capacity to meet demand requirements during spatially extensive heat waves.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Maithripala Sirisena should take responsibility for Easter Sunday attack: Ex-police chief

Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena should take responsibility for the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings that claimed the lives of over 250 people, ex-police chief Pujith Jayasundara has told a panel probing the attack, according to ...

The Sims 5 development revealed, Know Andrew Wilson’s opinion on fifth videogame

When is The Sims 5 going to be released The videogame aficionados have been waiting for a long time to know the release date of The Sims 5 for a long time. The Sims 5 is one of the most anticipated video games, thanks to the massive global ...

Executive director of Ad Club Bangalore dead

Executive director of Advertising Club Bangalore Arvind Kumar died here after a brief illness, family sources said. The 57-year-old Kumar complained of stomach pain three days ago and was under medication.On Friday morning, he complained of...

Vahdam Teas ties up with BYJU'S for digital learning of tea estate workers' children

Vahdam Teas on Saturday said it has partnered with BYJUs for providing digital learning to children of tea estate workers. The two partners plans to kick off a pilot project this month across 8-10 tea estates in Darjeeling covering ...

Give Feedback