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Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 16, 2023
Four distinct Northeast US heat wave circulation patterns and associated mechanisms, trends, and electric usage
Northeastern US heat waves have usually been considered in terms of a single circulation pattern, the high-pressure circulation typical of most heat waves occurring in other parts of the world. However, k-means clustering analysis from 1980–2018 shows there are four distinct patterns of Northeast heat wave daily circulation, each of which has its own seasonality, heat-producing mechanisms (associated moisture, subsidence, and temperature advection), and impact on electricity demand. Monthly analysis shows statistically-significant positive trends occur in late summer for two of the patterns and early summer for a third pattern, while the fourth pattern shows a statistically significant negative trend in early summer. These results demonstrate that heat waves in a particular geographic area can be initiated and maintained by a variety of mechanisms, resulting in heat wave types with distinct impacts and potential links to climate change, and that pattern analysis is an effective tool to distinguish these differences.