UM scientists awarded NOAA grant to study heat waves

Study will help improve future projections of extreme heat wave events in U.S.
UM scientists awarded NOAA grant to study heat waves

MIAMI—Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science were awarded over $190,000 in grant funding from the NOAA Research Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program to study heat waves, which have a significant human mortality and economic impact in the United States.

UM Professor Ben Kirtman and meteorologist Hosmay Lopez’s work will advance understanding of the physical mechanisms that control the variability, predictability and future projections of extreme heat waves events over the United States.

Heat waves are responsible for the most weather-related cause of the death in the U.S. Their number and severity have been increasing and are projected to continue increasing throughout the 21st century with climate change.

In 2018, Lopez, Kirtman and colleagues published findings inNature Climate Change that showed human-caused climate change will drive more extreme summer heat waves in the western U.S., including in California and the Southwest as early as 2020. 

“A better understanding of heat waves could improve our ability to respond to these extreme  weather disasters,” said Kirtman, a professor of atmospheric sciences and director of the UM NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS). 

The results of the study will be shared with the operational forecasting community, especially with the National Center for Environmental Prediction/Climate prediction Center (NCEP/CPC). The researchers also anticipate outcome of the results can help direct future improvement of model simulation of these extreme weather events for improving their predictions and future projections.

 The research will be conducted as part of the Cooperative Institute’s climate research and impact theme.