The critical role of humidity in modeling summer electricity demand across the United States.
ABSTRACT: Cooling demand is projected to increase under climate change. However, most of the existing projections are based on rising air temperatures alone, ignoring that rising temperatures are associated with increased humidity; a lethal combination that could significantly increase morbidity and mortality rates during extreme heat events. We bridge this gap by identifying the key measures of heat stress, considering both air temperature and near-surface humidity, in characterizing the climate sensitivity of electricity demand at a national scale. Here we show that in many of the high energy consuming states, such as California and Texas, projections based on air temperature alone underestimates cooling demand by as much as 10-15% under both present and future climate scenarios. Our results establish that air temperature is a necessary but not sufficient variable for adequately characterizing the climate sensitivity of cooling load, and that near-surface humidity plays an equally important role.
Project description:This study describes the first use of concurrent high-precision temperature and drip rate monitoring to explore what controls the temperature of speleothem forming drip water. Two contrasting sites, one with fast transient and one with slow constant dripping, in a temperate semi-arid location (Wellington, NSW, Australia), exhibit drip water temperatures which deviate significantly from the cave air temperature. We confirm the hypothesis that evaporative cooling is the dominant, but so far unattributed, control causing significant disequilibrium between drip water and host rock/air temperatures. The amount of cooling is dependent on the drip rate, relative humidity and ventilation. Our results have implications for the interpretation of temperature-sensitive, speleothem climate proxies such as δ(18)O, cave microecology and the use of heat as a tracer in karst. Understanding the processes controlling the temperature of speleothem-forming cave drip waters is vital for assessing the reliability of such deposits as archives of climate change.
Project description:Climate change could significantly affect consumer demand for energy in buildings, as changing temperatures may alter heating and cooling loads. Warming climates could also lead to the increased adoption and use of cooling technologies in buildings. We assess residential electricity and natural gas demand in Los Angeles, California under multiple climate change projections and investigate the potential for energy efficiency to offset increased demand. We calibrate residential energy use against metered data, accounting for differences in building materials and appliances. Under temperature increases, we find that without policy intervention, residential electricity demand could increase by as much as 41-87% between 2020 and 2060. However, aggressive policies aimed at upgrading heating/cooling systems and appliances could result in electricity use increases as low as 28%, potentially avoiding the installation of new generation capacity. We therefore recommend aggressive energy efficiency, in combination with low-carbon generation sources, to offset projected increases in residential energy demand.
Project description:We present results of a radiant cooling system that made the hot and humid tropical climate of Singapore feel cool and comfortable. Thermal radiation exchange between occupants and surfaces in the built environment can augment thermal comfort. The lack of widespread commercial adoption of radiant-cooling technologies is due to two widely held views: 1) The low temperature required for radiant cooling in humid environments will form condensation; and 2) cold surfaces will still cool adjacent air via convection, limiting overall radiant-cooling effectiveness. This work directly challenges these views and provides proof-of-concept solutions examined for a transient thermal-comfort scenario. We constructed a demonstrative outdoor radiant-cooling pavilion in Singapore that used an infrared-transparent, low-density polyethylene membrane to provide radiant cooling at temperatures below the dew point. Test subjects who experienced the pavilion (n = 37) reported a "satisfactory" thermal sensation 79% of the time, despite experiencing 29.6 ± 0.9 °C air at 66.5 ± 5% relative humidity and with low air movement of 0.26 ± 0.18 m?s-1 Comfort was achieved with a coincident mean radiant temperature of 23.9 ± 0.8 °C, requiring a chilled water-supply temperature of 17.0 ± 1.8 °C. The pavilion operated successfully without any observed condensation on exposed surfaces, despite an observed dew-point temperature of 23.7 ± 0.7 °C. The coldest conditions observed without condensation used a chilled water-supply temperature 12.7 °C below the dew point, which resulted in a mean radiant temperature 3.6 °C below the dew point.
Project description:The impact of Mars's 2018 Global Dust Storm (GDS) on surface and near-surface air temperatures was investigated using an assimilation of Mars Climate Sounder observations. Rather than simply resulting in cooling everywhere from solar absorption (average surface radiative flux fell 26 W/m2), the globally averaged result was a 0.9-K surface warming. These diurnally averaged surface temperature changes had a novel, highly nonuniform spatial structure, with up to 16-K cooling/19-K warming. Net warming occurred in low thermal inertia regions, where rapid nighttime radiative cooling was compensated by increased longwave emission and scattering. This caused strong nightside warming, outweighing dayside cooling. The reduced surface-air temperature gradient closely coupled surface and air temperatures, even causing local dayside air warming. Results show good agreement with Mars Climate Sounder surface temperature retrievals. Comparisons with the 2001 GDS and free-running simulations show that GDS spatial structure is crucial in determining global surface temperature effects.
Project description:Observations show ocean temperatures are rising due to climate change, resulting in a fivefold increase in the incidence of regional-scale coral bleaching events since the 1980s; analyses based on global climate models forecast bleaching will become an annual event for most of the world's coral reefs within 30-50 yr. Internal waves at tidal frequencies can regularly flush reefs with cooler waters, buffering the thermal stress from rising sea-surface temperatures. Here we present the first global maps of the effects these processes have on bleaching projections for three IPCC-AR5 emissions scenarios. Incorporating semidiurnal temperature fluctuations into the projected water temperatures at depth creates a delay in the timing of annual severe bleaching???10 yr (??20 yr) for 38% (9%), 15% (1%), and 1% (0%) of coral reef sites for the low, moderate, and high emission scenarios, respectively; regional averages can reach twice as high. These cooling effects are greatest later in twenty-first century for the moderate emission scenarios, and around the middle twenty-first century for the highest emission scenario. Our results demonstrate how these effects could delay bleaching for corals, providing thermal refugia. Identification of such areas could be a factor for the selection of coral reef marine protected areas.
Project description:Climate change is expected to impact animals that are heavily reliant on environmental factors, such as sea turtles, since the incubation of their eggs, hatching success and sex ratio are influenced by the environment in which eggs incubate. As climate change progresses it is therefore important to understand how climatic conditions influence their reproductive output and the ramifications to population stability. Here, we examined the influences of five climatic variables (air temperature, accumulated and average precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed) at different temporal scales on hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) hatchling production at ten nesting beaches within two regions of Brazil (five nesting beaches in Rio Grande do Norte and five in Bahia). Air temperature and accumulated precipitation were the main climatic drivers of hawksbill hatching success (number of eggs hatched within a nest) across Brazil and in Rio Grande do Norte, while air temperature and average precipitation were the main climatic drivers of hatching success at Bahia. Solar radiation was the main climatic driver of emergence success (number of hatchlings that emerged from total hatched eggs within a nest) at both regions. Warmer temperatures and higher solar radiation had negative effects on hatchling production, while wetter conditions had a positive effect. Conservative and extreme climate scenarios show air temperatures are projected to increase at this site, while precipitation projections vary between scenarios and regions throughout the 21st century. We predicted hatching success of undisturbed nests (no recorded depredation or storm-related impacts) will decrease in Brazil by 2100 as a result of how this population is influenced by local climate. This study shows the determining effects of different climate variables and their combinations on an important and critically endangered marine species.
Project description:Climate-induced forest mortality is being increasingly observed throughout the globe. Alarmingly, it is expected to exacerbate under climate change due to shifting precipitation patterns and rising air temperature. However, the impact of concomitant changes in atmospheric humidity and CO2 concentration through their influence on stomatal kinetics remains a subject of debate and inquiry. By using a dynamic soil-plant-atmosphere model, mortality risks associated with hydraulic failure and stomatal closure for 13 temperate and tropical forest biomes across the globe are analyzed. The mortality risk is evaluated in response to both individual and combined changes in precipitation amounts and their seasonal distribution, mean air temperature, specific humidity, and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Model results show that the risk is predicted to significantly increase due to changes in precipitation and air temperature regime for the period 2050-2069. However, this increase may largely get alleviated by concurrent increases in atmospheric specific humidity and CO2 concentration. The increase in mortality risk is expected to be higher for needleleaf forests than for broadleaf forests, as a result of disparity in hydraulic traits. These findings will facilitate decisions about intervention and management of different forest types under changing climate.
Project description:Common bean is the most consumed legume in the world and an important source of protein in Latin America, Eastern, and Southern Africa. It is grown in a variety of environments with mean air temperatures of between 14°C and 35°C and is more sensitive to high temperatures than other legumes. As global heating continues, breeding for heat tolerance in common bean is an urgent priority. Transpirational cooling has been shown to be an important mechanism for heat avoidance in many crops, and leaf cooling traits have been used to breed for both drought and heat tolerance. As yet, little is known about the magnitude of leaf cooling in common bean, nor whether this trait is functionally linked to heat tolerance. Accordingly, we explore the extent and genotypic variation of transpirational cooling in common bean. Our results show that leaf cooling is an important heat avoidance mechanism in common bean. On average, leaf temperatures are 5°C cooler than air temperatures, and can range from between 13°C cooler and 2°C warmer. We show that the magnitude of leaf cooling keeps leaf temperatures within a photosynthetically functional range. Heat tolerant genotypes cool more than heat sensitive genotypes and the magnitude of this difference increases at elevated temperatures. Furthermore, we find that differences in leaf cooling are largest at the top of the canopy where determinate bush beans are most sensitive to the impact of high temperatures during the flowering period. Our results suggest that heat tolerant genotypes cool more than heat sensitive genotypes as a result of higher stomatal conductance and enhanced transpirational cooling. We demonstrate that it is possible to accurately simulate the temperature of the leaf by genotype using only air temperature and relative humidity. Our work suggests that greater leaf cooling is a pathway to heat tolerance. Bean breeders can use the difference between air and leaf temperature to screen for genotypes with enhanced capacity for heat avoidance. Once evaluated for a particular target population of environments, breeders can use our model for modeling leaf temperatures by genotype to assess the value of selecting for cooler beans.
Project description:Around 70 Mha of land cover changes (LCCs) occurred in Europe from 1992 to 2015. Despite LCCs being an important driver of regional climate variations, their temperature effects at a continental scale have not yet been assessed. Here, we integrate maps of historical LCCs with a regional climate model to investigate air temperature and humidity effects. We find an average temperature change of -0.12?±?0.20?°C, with widespread cooling (up to -1.0?°C) in western and central Europe in summer and spring. At continental scale, the mean cooling is mainly correlated with agriculture abandonment (cropland-to-forest transitions), but a new approach based on ridge-regression decomposing the temperature change to the individual land transitions shows opposite responses to cropland losses and gains between western and eastern Europe. Effects of historical LCCs on European climate are non-negligible and region-specific, and ignoring land-climate biophysical interactions may lead to sub-optimal climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Project description:The Eemian (the Last Interglacial; ca. 129-116 thousand years ago) presents a testbed for assessing environmental responses and climate feedbacks under warmer-than-present boundary conditions. However, climate syntheses for the Eemian remain hampered by lack of data from the high-latitude land areas, masking the climate response and feedbacks in the Arctic. Here we present a high-resolution (sub-centennial) record of Eemian palaeoclimate from northern Finland, with multi-model reconstructions for July and January air temperature. In contrast with the mid-latitudes of Europe, our data show decoupled seasonal trends with falling July and rising January temperatures over the Eemian, due to orbital and oceanic forcings. This leads to an oceanic Late-Eemian climate, consistent with an earlier hypothesis of glacial inception in Europe. The interglacial is further intersected by two strong cooling and drying events. These abrupt events parallel shifts in marine proxy data, linked to disturbances in the North Atlantic oceanic circulation regime.