Bombshell, baby, bombshell!
(Think Progress) A stunning new study of U.S. high school students finds that heat waves lower their test scores, the effect is greater for minorities, and global warming is going to make things worse in the coming years.
Led by researchers from Harvard and the College Board, this National Bureau of Economic Research study, “Heat and Learning,” provides “the first evidence that cumulative heat exposure inhibits cognitive skill development and that school air conditioning can mitigate this effect.”
The study looked at almost 10 million students who took the PSAT twice (or more) from 2001 to 2014 and compared their scores with daily temperature data recorded by thousands of NOAA weather stations around the country.
Researchers found “hotter school days in the year prior to the test reduce learning, with extreme heat being particularly damaging.” Of course, global warming has already started making temperatures higher: As NASA reported in January, the five hottest years on Earth have all occurred since 2010.