UT Study: Southeast to get hotter, wetter over next 50 years

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee, found more severe heat waves will grip the eastern United States over the coming decades, while both the Northeast and Southeast will see a drastic increase in precipitation.

"While the Southeast has the highest intensity in heat waves, the northeast is likely to experience the highest increase," said Joshua Fu, a civil and environmental engineering professor.

"We are looking at temperature increases of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, with New York experiencing the highest hike."

Tapping into the power of UT's Kraken and ORNL's Jaguar (now Titan) supercomputers, Fu and Yang Gao, a graduate research assistant developed models that allowed them to track the climate over regions as small as four 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).

Their models predicted by 2057-2059, the temperature in Nashville will rise 3.21° Celsius (5.778° F), while Memphis will see an increase of 2.18° Celsius (3.924° F).

The research also predicted the amount of precipitation in both the northeast and southeast will jump by more than a third.

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