Mar 10, 2009 | 4
Suffer from headaches? It could be the weather, according to a new study.
"There are a lot of potential triggers of headache. …[weather] is something for clinicians to consider in evaluating what each person's triggers are," says Kenneth Mukumal, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and lead author of the research published this week in Neurology.
Mukamal and his colleagues studied more than 7,000 Boston-area patients diagnosed with headaches at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center emergency room between May 2000 and December 2007. To determine if weather played a role, they scoured National Weather Service data on fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure that occurred within 72 hours of each patient's ER visit.
Jan 22, 2009 | 10
Hate the cold? Well hey, here's a cynically silver-lined perk to global warming: Hot days come earlier than they once did.
Earth's average temperature increased by 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 degree Celsius) from 1905 to 2005, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Over the past 50 years, each season has begun nearly two days earlier than in the century before, Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley, scientists report today in Nature. Scientists have previously noted earlier springs, but the new findings (based on an analysis of land and ocean surface temps between 1850 and 2007) suggest that every season is getting an early start.
The reason for the shift isn’t entirely clear, but the study authors suspect that the Northern Annular Mode, a pattern of air movements across the Northern Hemisphere, may play a role. That pattern has brought stronger winter winds— and, therefore, warmer ocean air—to land, driving up winter temps and, perhaps, the researchers say, triggering earlier springs. And premature spring thaws mean drier soil earlier in the year; the drier the soil, the greater its ability to absorb and trap heat.
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