Climate Scientists Predict More Hot Summers for Europe

Thanks to global warming, summer heat waves like the one that killed close to 20,000 people in Europe in 2003 could recur up to once every two years by the end of the century. So claims a study conducted by a group of scientists from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and published in the latest online issue of Nature. Based on computer models of climatological change, the study predicts not a steady rise but rather increased variability and unpredictability in temperatures (which will make it difficult for farmers to compensate simply by switching to higher-temperature crops). “By the end of the century we will still see some normal summers, looking from today’s perspective, but the mean would be more like 2003 and the maximum would be even warmer,” said Cristoph Schar, one of the study authors. Hot summers like Europe’s last one, which averaged 8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal for three full months, are particularly hard on the elderly and cause environmental calamities ranging from forest fires to water shortages.