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Sport, Sustainability

Home runs and climate change

Yep, we’re talking baseball home runs here. And climate change is impacting how many happen.

I’m not a baseball player or fan but I do know that baseball is a pretty common past time in the US. Some, including the authors of the paper I’m looking at here would call it a cultural institution. And it is changing thanks to climate change.

Callahan and colleagues (2023) used the huge quantity of statistics about major league baseball games to see if climate change is impacting baseball. For this research, they looked at the number of home runs scored. Then they looked at the weather at the time of the home runs, along with a huge number of other stats. They found that about unseasonably warm weather and its related lower air density was tied to more than 500 runs since 2010.

This was a relatively small number, but the authors are quick to point out that the number is likely to grow if climate change continues unabated. The authors’ models predict approximately 95 more home runs per year with each degree of warming.

Cool, you might say, more runs make for more exciting baseball so this sounds great. But unseasonably warm weather and more frequent extreme weather are not just going to impact the number of home runs. With increasing temperatures we need to think about the health and safety of staff, fans, and players. And increases in extreme weather could lead to more delays and cancelled games.

About Tai Munro

I am passionate about making science, sustainability, and sport accessible through engaging information and activities.


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