Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Groundbreaking global warming research by a Boston University team

Did human induced global warming slow down  Tom  Longboat,  the winner of the  1907  Boston  Marathon?
(image by wiki)

Here is a hint for the guys choosing next year's Nobel Peace Prize, or alternatively one of the science prizes. A Boston University team has just published some sensational results, based on their groundbreaking new research:
Led by BU biologist Abraham J. Miller-Rushing, the scientists analyzed weather data alongside men's winning times in the Boston Marathon from 1933 to 2004 and women's winning times from 1972 (when women first officially participated) to 2004. They found that a 1.8 degree F (1 degree C) increase in temperature slowed the winning time, on average, by 20 seconds for men and 21 seconds for women. Strong headwinds had a similar effect. But overall, the researchers found that warming trends did not seem to affect the winning times of the marathon between 1933 and 2004, likely because there is still large variation in marathon-day temperature over that period.
"The authors are not saying that a warm temperature on race day on any given year won't affect race performance," said Scott Montain, a physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine who was not involved in the study. But the BU data suggests it will take "considerable time" before year-over-year warming will result in predictable and consistent slowing of race times, Montain explained to LiveScience in an email.
The BU researchers said if the race-day temperatures warmed by an average of 0.050 degrees F (0.028 degrees C) per year, they would expect a 64-percent chance that winning times would consistently slow by 2100. But even if Boston saw predictably rising temperatures on the third Monday of every April going forward, marathon runners will likely avoid any long-term climate-caused drag because race organizers have moved up the start time, researchers said. Through 2005, the race kicked off at noon, but since then, it has started in waves beginning at 9:00 a.m.
"By changing starting times for the race to earlier in the day when temperatures are cooler ... race organizers have effectively counteracted any effects that long-term warming would have had on winning times," the authors wrote. "If this change had not been made, we would have expected that warming would likely lead to fewer record-breaking times in the Boston Marathon."
Read the entire article here
It is of course of utmost importance that the distinguished BU research team is awarded extensive new funding for a comprehensive follow up of this exciting new research project. 

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