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University of Tennessee study predicts extreme climate in Eastern US
Date:12/17/2012

From 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 the Nov. 6 edition of 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 tem
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Contact: Whitney Heins
wheins@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert

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