Heat Wave Temperatures to Reach Record Highs by End of Century

heat wave

Image from Jesse Bikman

Can you imagine a future in which current record high temperatures will be considered "lovely and cool"? If not, you might want to get used to the idea, says Andreas Sterl, a climate modeler with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and the author of an upcoming study published in Geophysical Research Letters.

As the AP's Seth Borenstein reports, Sterl's model predicts heat wave temperatures will rise twice as fast as regular average global temperatures by 2100.

drought georgia

Image from Brian Hursey
The heat is on in cities around the world
For cities used to frequent hot spells, like Los Angeles and Atlanta, this could mean temperatures of up to 117 and 110, respectively. In Europe, where countries like France experienced a sweltering heat wave in 2003 that killed more than 52,000 individuals, peak temperatures could reach 109 and 114 in some cities.

Effects expected as early as 2050
But that's not all: As Sterl told Borenstein, heat waves will become longer-lasting and 3-5 degrees F hotter than they are now as early as 2050. The main culprit, as you might already expect, is global warming's drying-out effect -- which will worsen the rises in average temperatures we are likely to see in coming decades.

Government report reaches similar conclusions
A report released late last month by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program predicted as much, forecasting more heat waves and hot days and nights (and many fewer cold days and nights). The droughts and wildfires these heat waves are expected to cause will exert a considerable toll on the country's economy, the report concludes.

Via ::Associated Press: Hot future shock: Heat wave temperatures to soar (news website)

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