BU Study: Changes in Store for Northeast Summers

HEAT_WAVE_072605A new study from Bruce Anderson, Ph.D., of Boston University’s Dept. of Geography and Environment has found that the summertime conditions in the Northeast have the potential to change dramatically as the century progresses.

According to Dr. Anderson, the study found “there is the threat that conditions across the Northeast are going to become significantly drier.  In addition, they will become significantly warmer.  More worrying though, is the health-related changes in the heat index for our region, which captures days with both high temperatures and high humidities.”

Anderson explains that not only does the average summertime heat index increase significantly – by up to 4C (7F) – but so do the number of potentially-threatening “extreme caution” days (where the heat index exceeds 90F).  In fact, for the highly-populated Northeast megapolis stretching from NYC to Boston, over half the days during summer are expected to exceed the “extreme caution” value; and, the “extreme caution” value has the potential to become the norm for the region.

Similar studies carried out in parallel with this one suggest that the summertime climate of Massachusetts will become more and more like that of the deep South (Georgia and Florida) as the century progresses.

The research appears in the April issue of Climatic Change.

Contact: Bruce Anderson, 617-353-4807, brucea@bu.edu

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