Northeast US will have more heat, snow, rain according to powerful data modeling

NCA Heavy Precipitation map
Percent changes in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (the heaviest 1%) from 1958 to 2012 by region. Source: 2014 National Climate Assessment
Civil and environmental engineering Professor Joshua Fu at University of Tennessee, Knoxville carried out a climate change study using a huge dataset on the university’s supercomputer. The results show that the Northeastern United States will become hotter, experience more heat waves and get more precipitation in coming years. Data-based climate models show what cities will experience 50 years into the future.

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.

Global warming doesn’t mean that all regions of the earth will always be warmer. ThinkProgress explains:

One of the most robust scientific findings is the direct connection between global warming and more extreme precipitation or deluges. “Basic physics tells us that a warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture — at a rate of approximately 7 per cent increase per degree [Celsius] warming,” as the U.K. Met Office explained in its 2014 update on climate science. “This is expected to lead to similar percentage increases in heavy rainfall, which has generally been borne out by models and observed changes in daily rainfall.”

Fu cautions:

It is important that the nation take actions to mitigate the impact of climate change in the next several decades. These changes not only cost money – about a billion a year in the U.S. – but they also cost lives.

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