Permanent Hot Summers Predicted According to Stanford Study

According to a new study by scientists at Stanford University, the tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase. The Stanford team concluded that many tropical regions in Africa, Asia, and South America could see the permanent emergence of unprecedented summer heat in the next two decades. Middle latitudes of Europe, China, and North America--including the United States--are likely to undergo extreme summer temperature shifts within 60 years, the researchers found. "According to our projections, 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 the study's lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh. This dramatic shift in seasonal temperatures could have severe consequences for human health, agricultural production, and ecosystem productivity, Diffenbaugh said. As an example, he pointed to record heat waves in Europe in 2003 that killed 40,000 people.