"LOS ANGELES - Bouts of extreme muggy heat lasting for days, once rare in California, are becoming more frequent and intense due to ocean patterns altered by climate change, scientists said in a study released on Tuesday.
Research meteorologists at the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography reached the conclusion after examining a severe 2006 summer heat wave that was blamed for the deaths of 600 people and 25,000 cattle in California.
That heat wave, like others before it, combined high humidity and heat, keeping temperatures elevated at night, rather than allowing for nighttime cooling that normally occurs in the dry conditions more typical for California.
Hot, sticky nights in turn lead to hot humid days, helping to perpetuate the heat wave, 'and the cycle feeds on itself until the winds change,' said Alexander Gershunov, who led the Scripps' team."
Steve Gorman reports for Reuters August 28, 2009.