Jul 17, 2015

Could the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave Happen Again?

Chicago, IL
USA
by
Whet Moser
,
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Police officers remove the body of man at the Sutherland Hotel, 4659 S. Drexel Blvd., on July 18, 1995. Photo: Phil Greer, Chicago Tribune
Chicago Police officers remove the body of man at the Sutherland Hotel, 4659 S. Drexel Blvd., on July 18, 1995. Photo: Phil Greer, Chicago Tribune

Even assuming the continued trends of global warming, the exceptionally rare conditions that created the tragedy—specifically, the high nighttime temperatures—could remain rare...The 2-day period where the minimum apparent temperature failed to go below 31.5°C (89°F) is calculated to be an extremely rare event (probability of occurrence less than 0.1%) based on a 10,000-yr-long simulation of a four-parameter (temperatures related to the mean, the intraseasonal daily variance, the interannual variance, and the day-to-day persistence of temperature) probabilistic model. How rare? “No heat wave during the twentieth century was comparable in this respect.”