Global Heat Waves

Global assessment of urban heat island effect and future heat waves

Empirical studies and model simulations suggest increasing health risks associated with climate change and extreme heat events in cities across the world. Global simulations of present-day and future climates from NCAR’s Community Climate System Model, coupled with Community Land Model – Urban (CMLU) have been analyzed in a GIS with respect to the urban heat island effect and changes in extreme heat events.  This project investigates spatial and temporal trends in future heat waves across the globe and examines potential impacts of combined effect of urban heat island and future heat waves on urban population. This project also involves development of methods for integrating climate model simulations with data on population projections, as well as geoprocessing techniques for working with the netCDF model outputs in a GIS.  The goal of this analysis is to  highlight potential changes in exposure of urban residents to extreme heat and the need for heat hazard mitigation and climate adaptation.


Olga Wilhelmi (NCAR/RAL)
Jennifer Boehnert (NCAR/RAL)
Keith Oleson (NCAR/CGD)
Johannes Feddema (University of Kansas)


NCAR Weather and Climate Impacts Assessment Science Program. NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.