Those dog days of August: 3 times the heat by 2050?

Aug 19, 2009
Scientists at Climate Central have analyzed climate change projections made with global climate models. Scientific literature based on these models anticipates much more frequent occurrences of hot days, “heat waves” and extremely warm summers. Credit: Climate Central / Remik Ziemlenski

If you are wilting under the summer heat, consider this: your child may one day think of summer 2009 as "back in the cool old days." To illustrate expected increases in extreme summer heat, scientists at Climate Central have analyzed climate change projections made with global climate models.

Scientific literature based on these models anticipates much more frequent occurrences of hot days, "heat waves" (very sustained over several days), and extremely warm summer seasons. Beyond being uncomfortable, these projected increases in extreme heat will have important societal impacts, including:

  • heat stress mortality in humans and livestock;
  • increases in peak energy demand;
  • crop damage; and
  • increased demand for water.
Climate Central's analysis of model projections suggests that across a large number of U.S. cities, the average number of days in August with temperatures over 95 degrees Fahrenheit could nearly triple by 2050, and the average number of days over 100 degrees could nearly double.

Climate Central's Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Ben Strauss, emphasizes that the numbers are not predictions. "We're talking about best estimates and averages," says Strauss. "No matter how close the projections turn out to be, some years will have more hot August days, and others will have fewer."

Climate Central is a nonprofit science and media organization created to provide clear and objective information about climate change and its potential solutions. Its work has appeared on PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, TIME.com, newsweek.com, Scientific American, grist.org and beyond. Staff scientists drew on regional scenarios from a dozen highly sophisticated computer climate models to compare 1980 and 1990 averages with 2050 projections in three categories:

  • Average number of days in August over 90.
  • Average number of days in August over 95.
  • Average number of days in August over 100.
All of these measures were projected to increase or stay level in every city analyzed. The bottom line is that locations across the nation are likely to experience significant jumps in the number of extreme hot days in August and other summer months, from New York to Los Angeles, and from Florida to the Midwest to Seattle, which just experienced an unusual heat wave earlier this summer. More information on the projections, the methods used and their limitations is available at www.climatecentral.org.

Worldwide, since 1995, tens of thousands of people have died in heat waves. Other important impacts include increases in demand for energy (particularly electricity for cooling), and increases in urban and agricultural water demand.

The severity of increases in extreme heat and their impacts will depend on the extent of future use of fossil fuels. "We do have some choice here," says Dr. Berrien Moore III, Climate Central's Executive Director. "How hot it will get will depend on the choices we make about energy and transportation in the years to come."

More information: "Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands." U.S. Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.3 (June 2008). Available at http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/saps/300

Source: Climate Central

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dachpyarvile
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2009
What is with the old data? Could they not have used something newer than the period they used? I mean, people in my area are talking early Fall this year because the overall temps have been lower than normal.

Over the last few years there has been an overall cooling trend. Just this week we used no cooling whatsoever and the indoor temps never rose to higher than 78°F (25.55555555555556°C).

This lasted for at least three days. Today, the high was 88.6°F (31.44444444444444°C).

I have never experienced an August Summer like that in all the decades I have lived.
Mudshark
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 20, 2009
Why don't they project how many people die from colder winters. If your going to stop the alleged warming you might end up reversing it and bring about far more deaths from cooling. Not that I think we can do either warming or cooling...
zbarlici
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 20, 2009
hey there dachpukeville.. you might want to take a chill pill and wait for next summer. This year`s summertime low temps are a freak incident. This will happen only very rarely....
jonnyboy
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 20, 2009
so says the great guru zbarlici, the all knowing understudy to Al Gore and the rest of the meatheads !
dachpyarvile
3 / 5 (4) Aug 20, 2009
hey there dachpukeville.. you might want to take a chill pill and wait for next summer. This year`s summertime low temps are a freak incident. This will happen only very rarely....


Oh, you mean like last year's "freak incident" that was not supposed to be duplicated and the year overall warmer than 2008 predicted by the computer models?

You mean, like the NSIDC predicted ice-free Arctic of 2008 that never happened?

Ummmkaaay... Uhuh....
Ninderthana
1 / 5 (3) Aug 21, 2009
Yeah.. people have had a gut full of this global warming crap.

Solar activity on the Sun has died down and will remain subdued until at least mid 2030's. This means that we will have a 30 year cooling period comparable to the Dalton Minimum from 1790 - 1820.

But don't expect the pseudo-scientists who run this web site to recognise this. They will still be predicting warming when world temperatures reach a minimum in 2030.
dachpyarvile
1 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2009
Yes it has slowed down--again. Just checked SOHO data over the last few weeks. There were spots during a couple days in mid-July but these are now gone. As of yesterday evening I have seen not a single visible dark spot clouding the MDI Continuum data of the Sun.

Yet another prediction bites the dust! The Sun was supposed to have returned to activity months ago. :)
omatumr
1 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2009
FOR SCIENCE, RATHER THAN PROPAGANDA

See: "EARTH'S HEAT SOURCE - THE SUN", in Energy and Environment (SPECIAL ISSUE: Natural drivers of weather and climate) volume 20, numbers 1 & 2, pp. 131-144 (2009)
http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09
EarthlingX
1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2009
Could we not experiment with terraforming in the lab ? I feel a little uncomfortable being a little white mouse ...
dachpyarvile
not rated yet Aug 29, 2009
Scientists tried that--and failed. Remember Biosphere 2? Their equipment was insufficient to remove CO2 in sufficient quantities to keep the experiment habitable to the scientists living in the sealed structure.

They have since upgraded the equipment and vent CO2 to the outside but it only functions as a laboratory now rather than a "terraformed" type experiment.

CO2 in the real world, even at the rate in which it is going into the atmosphere, is not going to kill you and it certainly will not turn the earth into another Venus.

Earth does not have enough CO2 in the atmosphere to do that. Even if we burned everything organic on the planet we would not have enough.

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