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Florida Heatwaves and Extreme Precipitation: Future Climate Projections
Climate Dynamics (2018)
  • Ajay Raghavendra, University at Albany, State University of New York
  • Aiguo Dai, U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Shawn M. Milrad, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Shealynn R. Cloutier-Bisbee, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Observational analysis and climate modeling efforts concur that the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves will increase as the Earth’s mean climate shifts towards warmer temperatures. While the impacts and mechanisms of heatwaves have been well explored, extreme temperatures over Florida are generally understudied. This paper sheds light on Floridian heatwaves by exploring 13 years of daily data from surface observations and high-resolution WRF climate simulations for the same timeframe. The characteristics of the current and future heatwaves under the RCP8.5 high emissions scenario for 2070–2099 were then investigated. Results show a tripling in the frequency, and greater than a sixfold increase in the mean duration of heatwaves over Florida when the current standard of heatwaves was used. The intensity of heatwaves also increased by 4–6 °C due to the combined effects of rising mean temperatures and a 1–2 °C increase attributed to the flattening of the temperature distribution. Since Florida’s atmospheric boundary layer is rich in moisture and heatwaves could further increase the moisture content in the lower troposphere, the relationship between heatwaves and extreme precipitation was also explored in both the current and future climate. As expected, rainfall during a heatwave event was anomalously low, but it quickly recovered to normal within 3 days after the passage of a heatwave. Finally, the late 21st-century climate could witness a slight decrease in the mean precipitation over Florida, accompanied by heavier heatwave-associated extreme precipitation events over central and southern Florida.
  • climate projection,
  • extreme precipitation,
  • Florida,
  • heatwaves,
  • WRF model
Publication Date
February 24, 2018
Citation Information
Ajay Raghavendra, Aiguo Dai, Shawn M. Milrad and Shealynn R. Cloutier-Bisbee. "Florida Heatwaves and Extreme Precipitation: Future Climate Projections" Climate Dynamics (2018) p. 1 - 14 ISSN: 0930-7575
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