A new Dartmouth study concludes that climate change, in the form of global warming, has been increasing the number of home runs hit in Major League Baseball (MLB) games.
“[C]ould baseball be on the cusp of a “climate-ball” era where higher temperatures due to global warming increasingly determine the outcome of a game? A new Dartmouth study suggests it may be,” Dartmouth says on the university’s website.
The study, “Global warming, home runs, and the future of America’s pastime,” published Friday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, concludes that climate change has produced more than five hundred extra home runs since 2010.
The study’s researchers go on to predict that several hundred additional home runs will be hit – per season – due to climate change, in the years to come:
“Here we use observations from 100,000 Major League Baseball games and 220,000 individual batted balls to show that higher temperatures substantially increase home runs. We isolate human-caused warming with climate models, finding that >500 home runs since 2010 are attributable to historical warming. Several hundred additional home runs per season are projected due to future warming.”
However, the study also blames “human-caused” global cooling for decreasing the number of home runs hit between 1962 and 1995:
“We find that human-caused climate change decreased home runs between 1962 and 1995 and increased them thereafter.”
“The high atmospheric loading of anthropogenic aerosols cooled regional climate from the 1960s through the 1980s.”
It then blames improved air quality for causing global warming and the subsequent increase in home runs, which the study attributes to the “success” of “policy changes”:
“Policy changes aiming to improve air quality succeeded, so greenhouse gas forcing has dominated recent climate changes, accelerating home runs.”
Nonetheless, despite any warming of the climate, MLB batters hit more than seven hundred fewer home runs in 2022 than they did the year before.
As Fox Sports notes, 2022 saw the second-largest season-to-season decline in homers in MLB history:
“Home runs are down.
“Not from a popularity standpoint, no. Those joints still rule. But from a volume standpoint, home runs dipped in 2022 like Enron stock. There were 5,215 big flies last season, 729 less than a year before, or, the second-largest season-to-season drop-off in MLB history.”
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