Summer Heat Climatology for Urban Alabama, 1958-2017

  • Stephen Tsikalas Eastern Washington University
  • Kennedy Delap Jacksonville State University
Keywords: applied climatology, climate change, temperature extremes, urban heat


In this study, we focus our attention on urban regions in the State of Alabama to create a better understanding of changing summer heat trends. Rising summer temperatures, prolonged heat waves, and high heat index values are cause for public health concerns. Additionally, an increase in summer heat poses a stress on energy demands, costs to consumers, and health risks to the most vulnerable populations. Alabama is within the “warming hole” of the twentieth century warming trend in the U.S.; however, we hypothesize that summer urban temperatures have been on the rise over the past 60 years. To test our hypothesis, we analyze daily maximum and minimum temperatures for the months of June, July, and August between two, thirty-year time periods: 1958 to 1987 and 1988 to 2017. We also calculate cumulative summer cooling degree days (CDD) for each year, June 1stthrough August 31st. Statistical comparisons suggest a rising maximum and minimum temperature and CDD for 80 percent of the cities in this study (α = 0.05).