Climate, extreme heat, and electricity demand in California

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Climate projections from three atmosphere-ocean climate models with a range of low to mid-high temperature sensitivity forced by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change SRES higher, middle, and lower emission scenarios indicate that, over the 21st century, extreme heat events for major cities in heavily air-conditioned California will increase rapidly. These increases in temperature extremes are projected to exceed the rate of increase in mean temperature, along with increased variance. Extreme heat is defined here as the 90 percent exceedance probability (T90) of the local warmest summer days under the current climate. The number of extreme heat days in Los ... continued below

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Miller, N.L.; Hayhoe, K.; Jin, J. & Auffhammer, M. April 1, 2008.

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Climate projections from three atmosphere-ocean climate models with a range of low to mid-high temperature sensitivity forced by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change SRES higher, middle, and lower emission scenarios indicate that, over the 21st century, extreme heat events for major cities in heavily air-conditioned California will increase rapidly. These increases in temperature extremes are projected to exceed the rate of increase in mean temperature, along with increased variance. Extreme heat is defined here as the 90 percent exceedance probability (T90) of the local warmest summer days under the current climate. The number of extreme heat days in Los Angeles, where T90 is currently 95 F (32 C), may increase from 12 days to as many as 96 days per year by 2100, implying current-day heat wave conditions may last for the entire summer, with earlier onset. Overall, projected increases in extreme heat under the higher A1fi emission scenario by 2070-2099 tend to be 20-30 percent higher than those projected under the lower B1 emission scenario, ranging from approximately double the historical number of days for inland California cities (e.g. Sacramento and Fresno), up to four times for previously temperate coastal cities (e.g. Los Angeles, San Diego). These findings, combined with observed relationships between high temperature and electricity demand for air-conditioned regions, suggest potential shortfalls in transmission and supply during T90 peak electricity demand periods. When the projected extreme heat and peak demand for electricity are mapped onto current availability, maintaining technology and population constant only for demand side calculations, we find the potential for electricity deficits as high as 17 percent. Similar increases in extreme heat days are suggested for other locations across the U.S. southwest, as well as for developing nations with rapidly increasing electricity demands. Electricity response to recent extreme heat events, such as the July 2006 heat wave in California, suggests that peak electricity demand will challenge current supply, as well as future planned supply capacities when population and income growth are taken into account.

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology; Journal Volume: 47; Journal Issue: 6; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 2008

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  • Report No.: LBNL-61979
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.1175/2007JAMC1480.1 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 938512
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc901337

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  • April 1, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 30, 2016, 7:23 p.m.

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Miller, N.L.; Hayhoe, K.; Jin, J. & Auffhammer, M. Climate, extreme heat, and electricity demand in California, article, April 1, 2008; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc901337/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.