Modeling Study Successfully Simulates Extreme Heat in Missouri

Modeling Study Successfully Simulates Extreme Heat in Missouri


Record-breaking high temperatures persisted across the US Midwest in July 2012, including in Missouri, which contains critical productive farmland. Heat waves have far-reaching impacts on human and ecosystem health, and operational models have failed to predict these events accurately.  A recent study, funded in part by the Climate Program Office’s Climate Variability & Predictability (CVP) Program successfully simulated the extreme Missouri heat wave over space and time. CVP-funded researcher Tim Li (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa) alongside researchers from Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and the University of Missouri-Kansas City used a high-resolution Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to produce a pattern of air temperature which is comparable to in-situ observations. The model results, published in the Journal of Meteorological Research, also realistically reproduces the urban heat island effect in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. This research supports CVP’s research priority to bridge the gap between observations and modeling and adds to a growing body of work aligned with CPO’s Extreme Heat Risk Area Initiative.

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.