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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Assessing climate change projections over the Northeast


Using Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and CMIP3 data, we are developing a range of projections for the Eastern U.S.  We are also developing extreme event projections for stakeholder-relevant metrics (e.g., days over 90 °F, days below 32 °F, and days with over 1 inch of precipitation) based on CMIP5 models and North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) dynamical downscaling.  We are also evaluating the performance of these models over historical time periods. Current research thrusts include emphasis on extreme heat stress (heat plus humidity) events and the relationship between extreme minimum temperatures and Southern Pine Beetle range expansion in the Northeast U.S.  

We are finding that small changes in average conditions are associate with large changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme events.  We are also finding large biases in the NARRCAP regional climate model simulations of historical conditions.

This project will provide ensemble-based climate change projections with uncertainty for various climate impacts research.



  • "On the Emergence of Heat and Humidity too Extreme for Human Tolerance"  AMS 2019
  • Coffel, E., Horton, R.M., C. Raymond. "Heat and Humidity are a Killer Combination" NYTimes Op-ed, October 11, 2018.
  • "Trends on Extreme Events", Climate Central Webinar for Meteorologists, May 8th, 2018
  • "Projected impacts of extreme events in the Northeast", Chappaqua, NY 4/25/18.
  • The Impacts of Climate Change on Land Conservation and Restoration: Economic Policy Advances in Adaptation and Mitigation, NAREA Workshop, June 13-14, 2017.​
  • Rapid rise in exposure to heat stress in the 21st century, NSCE Conference, Washington, D.C. January 25, 2017
  • Coffel, E., "Economic impacts of more frequent weight restriction on the aviation industry." American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana. January 10-14, 2016.
  • Coffel, E. "Global exposure to heat stress in the 21st century." American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, December 14-18, 2015.
  • Presentation By R. Horton on combined effects of high temperatures and high humidity in the Northeast US at American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, at 5pm on December 19th, 2014.
  • North Atlantic LCC webinar, August 7, 2014
  • "Extreme Temperatures and their Mechanisms in NARCCAP Simulations" presentation on dynamical downscaling work given at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in San Francisco in December 2012.


  • Product: Draft Climate Risk information reports for New York City and New York State
  • Meetings: Climate Science Day, Washington, DC, February 2013, J. Winter