Study: Future summers will be real scorchers

Published May 11, 2007

WASHINGTON - Future eastern U.S. summers look much hotter than originally predicted, with daily highs about 10 degrees warmer than in recent years by the mid 2080s, a new NASA study says.

Previous and widely used global warming computer estimates predict too many rainy days, the study says. Because drier weather is hotter, they underestimate how warm it will be east of the Mississippi River, said atmospheric scientists Barry Lynn and Leonard Druyan of Columbia University and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

"Unless we take some strong action to curtail carbon dioxide emissions, it's going to get a lot hotter, " said Lynn, now at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The study got mixed reviews from other climate scientists, in part because the eastern United States has recently been wetter and cooler than forecast.

Instead of daily summer highs that in the 1990s averaged in the low to mid 80s Fahrenheit, the eastern United States is in for daily summer highs regularly in the low to mid 90s, the study found.

The study looked at only the eastern United States because that was the focus of the funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lynn said. It was published in the April edition of the peer-reviewed journal Climate and posted on the NASA Web site Thursday.

Many politicians and climate skeptics have criticized computer models as erring on the side of temperatures that are too hot and outcomes that are too apocalyptic with global warming.

Fast Facts:


Sizzling cities

The study forecast these average summer highs in the 2080s:

Jacksonville: 102 degrees

Memphis: 100 degrees

Atlanta: 96 degrees

Chicago and Washington: 91 degrees