NASA: Summer Temperatures to Rise Dramatically

Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) concluded that average high summer temperatures in the eastern United States may rise by as much as 10 degrees by the 2080s. The culprit: greenhouse gases.

To reach their conclusions, researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies looked at three decades of temperature and precipitation data and used computer model simulations that measured soil, atmospheric, and oceanic conditions, along with projected changes in greenhouse gases.

NASA scientists expect average high temperatures during summer on the eastern seaboard to soar into the 90s by the 2080s, and they also predict that in summers where rainfall is below average, temperatures may regularly reach between 100 and 110 degrees.

According to NASA, “The global model, one of the models used in the recently issued climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was utilized in this study to identify future changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns due to the build up of greenhouse gases. This information was then fed into the weather prediction model to forecast summer-to-summer temperature variability in the eastern United States during the 2080s. The weather model showed that extreme summertime surface temperatures developed when carbon dioxide emissions were assumed to continue to increase about 2 percent a year, the ‘business as usual’ scenario.”

“Using high-resolution weather prediction models, we were able to show how greenhouse gases enhance feedbacks between precipitation, radiation, and atmospheric circulations that will likely lead to extreme temperatures in our not so distant future,” said lead study author Barry Lynn.

The study’s authors believe that theirs is the first study to accurately incorporate precipitation predictions into future temperature analysis. Previous studies, they say, used models that overestimated the amount of precipitation to be expected, and therefore, much of the previous research tended to underestimate the amount of future warming.

The full report appeared in last month’s American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.

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