Researchers Predict Hotter, Longer Heat Waves
So, having learned that we can meliorate climate change, we flip a few pages over in the latest issue of Science to find out what will happen if we don’t — and it isn’t pretty. Scientists predict that heat waves in some parts of Europe and North America will be hotter, more frequent, and longer-lasting. The researchers, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, focused their attention on Paris (a heat wave last August killed roughly 15,000 people in France) and Chicago (where a 1995 heat wave killed more than 700). Using climate modeling and assuming current trends in greenhouse-gas production, they predicted that the number of heat waves would increase by 31 percent in Paris and 25 percent in Chicago — part of a general increase in the U.S. South and Midwest and the Mediterranean regions in Europe. Heat waves drive up the price of fuels, kill the elderly and weak, damage agricultural crops, and cause everyone to sweat and stink a lot.