Half of All Summers Will Soon Be Boiling Hot for Hundreds of Millions of People

Last year was an absolute scorcher in China. In the eastern part of the country, more than a half-billion people sweltered through 31 days with daily maximum temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or more, a historical record. The heat wave killed dozens of people. Nightmare-inducing crowds swamped public pools and beaches. NASA reported that Shanghai broke its all-time temperature record three times in as many weeks. The blistering heat was accompanied by a drought that afflicted the country's food bowl, the Yangtze River basin, that cost China around $9.6 billion. The Associated Press reported at the time that "folks are grilling shrimp on manhole covers, eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard has mysteriously caught fire by itself."

Now the verdict is in: China better get used to it. New research released Sunday reveals that 2013 was not just some statistical blip—and man-made climate change is likely the main culprit. In just two decades, 50 percent of summers are likely to be hotter than the one Chinese people suffered through in 2013, according to the study. That means extreme summers like last year's, which normally only happen once every 270 years, could happen every other year.

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