U.S. weather has gotten more pleasant, but will soon worsen | Science News

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U.S. weather has gotten more pleasant, but will soon worsen

Researchers hope shift will spur action on climate change

6:00am, June 1, 2016
Beautiful weather at Pismo Beach

BETTER WEATHER   Climate change has improved weather conditions for the majority of Americans since 1974, new research shows. But most of the U.S. population will see worsening weather by the end of the century.

Americans have climate change to thank for a decades-long spate of milder winters. Around 80 percent of U.S. residents live in counties where the weather has become more pleasant over the last four decades (see map). That trend won’t last, however: Researchers predict in the April 21 Nature that 88 percent of Americans will experience noticeably worse weather by 2100 than they do today.

The researchers created a weather pleasantness index to rank weather conditions. Hot, humid summers cost points, while mild winters added points. In the contiguous United States, winter warming has outpaced increases in summertime temperature and humidity. But if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, summer weather will become less pleasant over the coming decades, potentially sparking increased public interest in combating climate change, the researchers predict. 

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