As a heat wave rolls across U.S., scientists predict more to come

Climate scientists have this to say about the record-breaking heat wave rippling across the country: Get used to it.

This week’s spike toward triple-digit temperatures is unusual, they say. But as Earth gets warmer and greenhouse gases build, highs will keep getting higher.

“There have always been heat spells,” said Glen MacDonald, the director of the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “That’s just the climate system. But … if you’re generally warming things, you have a greater chance to reach new highs. Your hot spells become even hotter than they had in the past.”

One week of high temperatures is not a sign of massive global warming, said Paul Bunje, the director of UCLA’s Center for Climate Change Solutions. Weather is random, influenced by factors including the temperature of major bodies of water and the flow of air currents in the atmosphere.

“But weather phenomena like heat waves, like this one, are more likely when you look at climate change models,” Bunje said in an interview with The Times. “You see everywhere continuing to warm, and events like heat waves occurring with more frequency.”

To read the full article by Laura J. Nelson click here.