UA researcher studies why heatwaves are strengthening across the United States

Research on heat waves

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Heatwaves are getting bigger and more severe according to Dr. David Keelling, a University of Alabama assistant professor of geography.

That also makes them more dangerous.

Keelling hopes an upcoming study at the University will show people how to prepare for the kind of heat that can kill if folks aren’t prepared.

“It gets really hot in August in Tuscaloosa and Alabama. Throughout the south it’s really miserable,” Keelling said.

He wants to study why heatwaves have become more severe over the last 60 years.

“Right now over the last couple of days we’ve had abnormally high hot weather. It’s been really, really hot,” he continued.

Keelling was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study the relationship between the size of heatwaves and causes across the United States. The goal is to better prepare weather models that would allow to know ahead of time when heatwaves happen to better protect themselves.

“I’m particularly interested in what’s driving that change. And so this grant money allows us to look further into not just how heatwaves are changing, but why they are changing,” Keelling continued.

The grant is for $340,000 over the next three years. Students from the University will assist in the research project.

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