Science Behind the Forecast: Are heatwaves getting worse?
Listen to Science Behind the Forecast with Meteorologist Tawana Andrew every Friday on 89.3 WFPL at 7:45 a.m.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Heatwaves have been dominating the forecast and news headlines.
Recent data has shown that global temperatures rose about 1.98°F between 1901 and 2020. While two degrees doesn’t seem like much, it can mean significant changes in weather and climate patterns. Over the past decade, daily record high temperatures across the continental United States have occurred twice as often as record lows.
Heat is one of the deadliest weather phenomena. Extreme heat killed, on average, more than 600 people each year between 1999 and 2009 across the United States. Out of the top 10 deadliest U.S. disasters since 1980, heatwaves are six out of the 10.
If things continue on the current trend, researchers believe that daily high and low temperatures will increase by at least five degrees by the middle of the century. The National Climate Assessment’s data shows an estimated 20 to 30 more days over 90° in most locations during this time frame.
Recent data shows that Louisville now sees, on average, 21.1 more days above 90° compared to 1970. Louisville now has 12 more days with a heat index over 90° compared to 1979.
As heat becomes more of a factor, there may be significant changes to the way we live. Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States.
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