Model to Better Predict How Much Heat Waves Will Make Americans Crank Up the AC


During heat waves, people tend to crank up their home’s air conditioning not only because it got hotter outside, but also because it feels too humid.

To more accurately predict how climate change will affect home electricity use during the summer, researchers have developed a model that takes into consideration how people respond to heat stress.

The model is described in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications. Information from this model would help utilities better prepare for climate change effects likely to bring more intense heat waves, stressing the energy grid.

“Eighty-five degrees feels very differently in Miami compared to Los Angeles because humidity affects the sensation of heat. Humidity combined with heat can be lethal, even when the air temperature may not seem very high,” said Roshanak “Roshi” Nateghi (roh-SHAH-nahk nah-TEH-ghee), a Purdue assistant professor of industrial engineering and environmental and ecological engineering.

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