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Climate crisis causing more home runs in baseball, study suggests

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Steroids once gave many of baseball’s sluggers a power boost. Now research suggests that today’s home run hitters are seeing their shots turbocharged by the climate crisis.

A study by researchers at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire used data from 100,000 Major League Baseball games and 220,000 individually hit balls to show that higher temperatures increase the number of balls hit out of the park.

They found that between 2010 and 2019, global heating led on average to an extra 58 home runs a year. Since 6,776 home runs were hit in the record-setting 2019 season, the effect is modest. But each degree Celsius of future warming is associated with about 95 more home runs a season, they said. If the climate crisis was not mitigated, rising temperatures could be responsible for a 10% increase by the end of the century.

“When you have warmer temperatures you have lower air density, and when you have lower air density you have less drag on a flying object, whether that’s a baseball or an aeroplane,” said Justin Mankin, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth and senior…

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