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Study: ‘Several Fold’ Increase Expected In Frequency Of Heat Waves By 2040

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File photo of a thermometer registering a high temperature. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

File photo of a thermometer registering a high temperature. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) - A recent study revealed that a significant increase in the frequency of heat waves along the lines of those we experienced this summer could be expected within the next 27 years.

The study, entitled “Historic and future increase in the global land area affected by monthly heat extremes” and posted on the website for the journal IOP Science, indicated that overall global warming would be responsible for the increase in the brutal weather patterns.

“For the near-term (i.e., by 2040), the models predict a robust, several-fold increase in the frequency of … heat extremes, irrespective of the emission scenario,” an abstract summary of the study states.

The study was a collaborative effort between Dim Coumou and Alexander Robinson of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, according to the post from IOP Science.

“The recent decade has seen an exceptional number of extreme heat waves around the world that caused severe damage to society and ecosystems,” the team noted. “These events were highly unusual with temperatures typically three standard deviations warmer than the local climatology lasting for several weeks.”

Researchers added, “This raises the question how and how rapidly this trend is likely to continue under future warming, which is expected to be substantially larger than the 0.5 degrees C[elcius increase] observed so far.”

For the study, Coumou and Robinson used what they referred to as a “single spectrum analysis” to glean information about future weather patterns based on existing statistics. Using those figures, they attempted to predict what would happen as the century progresses, based on climate change patterns from 1951 to 2010. They ultimately found that unprecedented high temperatures could be seen in years to come.

They noted in the summary, “We show that the frequency of summer months with extreme heat … and unprecedented heat … will strongly increase under expected future global warming.”

The issue continues to be a focus in the United States as well.

A top environmental adviser to President Barack Obama recently visited Rhode Island to highlight the threat climate change poses to public health. Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality, joined Gov. Lincoln Chafee for the event.

The council works with other federal agencies to coordinate the president’s environmental initiatives.

Attendees discussed concerns that climate change will prompt longer allergy seasons, more heat-related illness and new cases of asthma.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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