If you think this summer is hot, just wait for what is projected to be in store over the next century.
Earlier this year, Bruce Anderson of Boston University’s Department of Geography and the Environment led a study that showed summertime conditions in the Northeast have the potential to get a heck of a lot hotter – and drier.
By looking at the upper end of global projections of greenhouse gas emissions, Anderson and two colleagues found that the summertime heat index (a measure of temperature and water vapor that translates into how hot it feels) could increase up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. More worrisome, perhaps, is the number of “extreme caution” days when the heat index is greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydration and other health affects can occur.
For people living in the belt that extends from New York City to Boston, over half the days during summer are expected to exceed the “extreme caution” definition by the century’s end.
There is also expected to be a change in summer precipitation – decreasing across much of the central Northeast but increasing over the southernmost and northern most portions of the region.
Now, of course, one steamy summer like this one does not make a trend, but it does give a hint to what people could expect as the century progresses, according to the study.
The study was commissioned as part of a Union of Concerned Scientists effort with 40 scientists examining impacts to the economy, health and recreational activities in the Northeast.
Anderson and colleagues examined computer climate models to draw conclusions – models that he says are getting better at peering down into regional areas where impacts are felt.
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