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WASHINGTON – The mercury climbed into the 90s across half the country Wednesday in a record-breaking blast of August-like heat, forcing schools with no air conditioning to let kids go home early and cities to open cooling centers. And scientists say we had better get used to it.
A new study from Stanford University predicts that global climate change will lead permanently to unusually hot summers by the middle of the century.
Temperatures in the 90s were recorded across much of the South, the East and the Midwest. Baltimore and Washington hit 99 degrees, breaking high-temperature records for the date that were set in 1999, according to the National Weather Service. The normal high for the date is about 82.
Philadelphia hit 97 degrees, breaking a 2008 record of 95, and Atlantic City, N.J., tied a record of 98 set in 1999. Chicago reached 94 by midafternoon. The temperature hit 97 in LaGuardia, N.Y., breaking the old record of 96 set in 2008. Newark, N.J., reached 99 degrees, breaking a record of 97 set in 1999.
The coronal mass ejection is directed at Earth and moving at about 3.1 million mph (5 million kph), SDO mission scientists said in a statement.
"Due to its angle, however, effects on Earth should be fairly small. Nevertheless, it may generate space weather effects here on Earth in a few days," they added.
In the SDO videos, the solar flare erupts from the lower right of the sun and triggers the intense coronal mass ejection, which blows plasma and particles high up into the sun's corona — its outer atmosphere — with some raining back down.
A temperature of 80,000 Kelvin is about 143,540 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly 79,727 degrees Celsius). The sun's corona typically has temperatures ranging from 900,000 degrees F (500,000 degrees C) to 10.8 million degrees F (6 million degrees C). It can reach tens of millions of degrees when a solar flare occurs.
The sun is currently going through an active period in it is 11-year solar weather cycle. The current cycle is called solar cycle 24.