By now, most scientists—97 percent of them, to be exact—agree that the temperature of the planet is rising and that the increase is due to human activities such as fossil fuel use and deforestation. But until recently, the jury was still out regarding the variability surrounding that increase—for example, how much difference there will be between the hottest hot days from one year to the next, as well as with each year’s coldest cold days.
Some studies suggested an increase in variability, others a decrease. The problem with these results, said Evan Kodra, PhD’14, is that none of them took a systematic approach to gleaning that answer. Each was examining some other phenomenon—such as whether a particular region would experience overall warming—and the variability data was a secondary, but interesting, finding.
That’s why Kodra and his adviser Auroop Ganguly, a climate change expert and associate professor in Northeastern’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, decided to take a different approach in their paper published online on Wednesday in the journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature. Their work was performed in Northeastern’s Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory run by Ganguly.