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Imagine That! - The Heat Wave of the Future

Imagine That!
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Imagine That! - The Heat Wave of the Future

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

Interested in what the weather's like...for the next century? A new climate model offers the ultimate extended forecast.

Imagine That!

Researchers examining extreme climate patterns use a high-tech weather model to make predictions right into the next century. So what do researchers see in their computerized crystal ball? Among the possibilities, a long lifeline -- of potentially deadly heat waves.

The researchers say if greenhouse gasses continue to increase over the next century, their model reveals those gasses will create more large areas of high pressure, something heat waves thrive on.

The result? We'll see more frequent and intense heat waves in the future, even in states that don't experience them today.

Meehl: "In our future scenario, we saw that the pacific northwest actually was experiencing a fairly large increase of heat wave intensity in future climate."

That's Gerald Meehl, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He says while scientists usually look at changes in average temperature, it turns out changes in extreme events -- like heat waves -- probably have the greatest impact.

Some hot info from one very cool weather model. I'm Eric Phillips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at

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