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Hotter, drier summers here to stay due to climate change

13 Jun 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Climate Change

An upcoming study that is to be published in the journal Climatic Change Letterslater this month concludes that climate change will lead to "the permanent emergence of unprecedented summer heat" in tropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America in the coming decades. 

Between 2010-2039, nearly 70 percent of summer seasons in zones straddling the equator will exceed the late-20th century temperature records the study concludes. By 2070 regions in North America, the European Mediterranean, and China will have entered into a summer “heat regime” as well.

"Large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years," said lead author Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment.

The dramatic shift in summer temperatures has severe implications for human health, biodiversity and food supplies the researchers cautioned. 

Indeed many of those consequences are already appearing. Just last week Act Green blogged on recent Union of Concerned Scientists report which found that warmer temperatures lead to greater air pollution and respiratory-related illnesses, deaths, and hospitalizations. On June 4, Justin Gillis of the New York Times reported that rising temperatures are leading to dropping food yields and contributing to rising corn, soybean, wheat and rice costs worldwide.

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