Summer heat hitting new “normal” under climate change

Climate change may  take some of the joy out of summertime. Imagine sunbathing, picnic-ing, or camping in an extreme heat wave. Such temperatures may become the new “normal” in the coming decades, particularly in the tropics and the Northern Hemisphere.

That’s according to research out of Stanford University, which analyzed more than 50 climate model simulations of 21st century temperatures under elevated greenhouse gas levels.

“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, in a Stanford University press release.

The research is to be published later this month in the journal Climate Change Letters. The scientists found that the upward trend has already started, based on an analysis of historical temperature data.

The tropics will heat up the fastest, with up to 70 percent of the seasons in the next two decades exceeding the maximums in the 20th century. By 2070, summer temperature extremes will become the new norm in North America, China, and Mediterranean Europe.

Summer fun won’t be the only things impacted, of course. Crops could largely fail under such temperature spikes. And one flashback to the 2003 heat wave in Europe, which killed 40,000 people, and it’s no exaggeration to say that no one is prepared to live in such a furnace.