Multiple large heatwaves the size of Mongolia occurred at the same time nearly every day during the warm seasons of the 2010s across the Northern Hemisphere, according to a study led by Washington State University researchers.

“More than one heatwave occurring at the same time often has worse societal impacts than a single event,” said Cassandra Rogers, a WSU post-doctoral researcher and lead author of the study in Journal of Climate. “If certain regions are dependent on one another, for instance for agriculture or trade, and they’re both undergoing stresses at the same time, they may not be able to respond to both events.”

Deepti Singh.

“As a society, we are not currently adapted to the types of climate events we’re experiencing right now,” said co-author Deepti Singh, WSU associate professor in the School of the Environment.

In addition to Rogers and Singh, authors on the study include Kai Kornhuber of Columbia University, Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick of the University of New South Wales in Australia and Paul Loikith of Portland State University. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Australian Research Council.

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