As the Earth warms, heat waves will triple in frequency and soon take up half the summer, according to the work of Professor Gabriel Ngar-cheung LAU, an Author of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Professor Lau’s computer modelling study indicates that heat waves will lengthen from the typical three to four days, to seven to 10 days per episode. Instead of one per summer, there will be three or four. The combined effect is profound, with heat waves occurrences during more than half of the days within the summer season in many parts of the world, instead of just a few days per year.
Professor Lau’s latest studies found that heat waves in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) are occurring more frequently and lasting for a longer period, and reaching higher temperature peaks. The primary factor for large-scale heat waves in this region is the westward movement of the western North Pacific subtropical high. The data records show that urbanization contributes to nearly 50% of the increase in heat waves frequency and duration in GBA, and to earlier initiation of heat wave events during the warm season.
Research findings were published in Journal of Climate, an internationally renowned journal covering research that advances basic understanding of the dynamics and physics of the climate system on large spatial scales.
Luo, M., & Lau, N. C. (2017). Heat waves in southern China: Synoptic behavior, long-term change, and urbanization effects. Journal of Climate, 30(2), 703-720.
Read Full-text Article