Scorching Heatwaves Projected to Get More Intense and More Frequent in Dallas, Study Says

The frequency of heat waves that force Dallas residents indoors with the threat of heat-related illness may keep rising -- drastically.That’s according to a study published today in the journal Environmental Research Communications, which projects that Texas will experience some of the largest increases in intense heat scorching the country by mid-century. The study stems from a larger report, also released today, by the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS, a U.S. nonprofit science advocacy group.Why are heat waves expected to spike by 2050? “Failing to reduce heat-trapping emissions” from burning fossil fuels, says Dr. Kristina Dahl, the study’s lead author and a senior UCS climate scientist.The projections are based on the average of 18 climate models that account for a host of factors that affect climate and weather. The models, of course, examine the effects of the expected future greenhouse gas emissions. But they also account for things that could change the climate naturally, such as varying solar cycles.Before projecting into the future, the authors first gave the models a test run on the past. When comparing their outputs to the U.S. temperatures between 1950 and 2005, Dahl found that, in general, “the models did a great job of reproducing those observations.”All of the models converge on a similar prediction about the future: Texas will be especially heated up. Three of the five major cities across the country expected to see the largest increase in extremely hot days by mid-century are Brownsville, McAllen and Harlingen -- all in Texas. Dallas also ranks pretty high at No. 53 out of the 481 major cities assessed.  Continue reading...

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