First Advisor

Paul Loikith

Term of Graduation

Fall 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography







Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 38 pages)


Humid-heat extremes threaten human health and are increasing in frequency with global warming, so elucidating factors affecting their rate of change is critical. This thesis examines the role of historical (1985-2014) wet-bulb temperature distribution tail shape on the probability of wet-bulb temperature extreme threshold exceedances under 2°Celsius global warming. Analysis of global climate models and reanalysis reveals that non-Gaussian wet-bulb temperature distribution tails are common worldwide across extensive, spatially coherent regions. More rapid increases in the number of days exceeding the historical 95th percentile are projected in locations with shorter-than-Gaussian warm-side tails. Of the two primary components of wet-bulb temperature, specific humidity and temperature, specific humidity tail shape is much more closely correlated with wet-bulb temperature tail shape and future exceedances. This suggests that humidity tail shape is more influential on the rate of future changes in wet-bulb temperature extreme exceedances than temperature tail shape. Short non-Gaussian wet-bulb temperature warm tails have notable implications for dangerous humid-heat stress in regions where current-climate wet-bulb temperature extremes approach human safety limits.


© 2022 Yianna Sotirios Bekris

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