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Heat Waves are Hotter, Longer, Fatal by City-Tech Blogger Kai Fong Sin

Climate change impacts are many, but the numerous heat waves have most likely affected populations all over the world. Temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere has increased by 0.21°C per decade between 1951 and 2015, the increase was 0.46°C per decade for Europe, according to a story in the Daily Planet.

Recently France and Britain saw temperatures that climbed to more than 30 ℃, (86F) which made it difficult for most, especially in Britain where few people have air conditioning and it’s “too hot can’t sleep” has become a hot topic online. French buses have not installed air conditioning and male drivers have asked to wear shorts, but have been denied, so they  protested by wearing skirts to work. Last April in Rajasthan, northern India, a series of heat waves hit with scorching temperatures of more than 40 ℃  (104F). A news story told of how the  high temperatures made a horse go mad and got free of the reigns and caused a collision on the road when it crashed into a car. Rescue workers were called to help the injured driver and remove the horse. On the west coast of the United States, California recently saw temperatures soar to close to 50 ℃  (122F) causing the pavement to over heat; pet owners had to put socks on their pet dogs. Because air conditioning was on 24/7 the local power consumption peaked and blackouts were common. In Phoenix, Arizona, the  recorded high temperature was 48.3 ℃, (118F) and was one of the highest temperatures recorded in over nine years.The high temperatures saw many airlines cancel their flights; on the same day as an extreme heat wave American airlines cancelled more than 50 round-trip flights going out of Phoenix airport. Also in Arizona, flights for small aircrafts were canceled because they cannot operate at temperatures over 47 ℃  (116).

In Portugal, in the city of San Pedro the extreme  high temperatures led to a mountain fire crisis, with the worst wildfires in nearly 40 years that killed at least 64 people. Thousands of firefighters aided by fire aircraft and the military fought the blaze that was made stronger by heavy winds.

It is clear that global warming is making heat waves hotter, longer and more frequent. A new climate change analysis of heat wave patterns has been published in Nature Climate, and says that climate change “has been driven by the buildup of human-caused greenhouse gases….and is seen as the main cause of heat waves in the western United States by the late 2020s and by the mid-2030s in the Great Lakes region.”  The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions says, “By midcentury, if greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly curtailed, scientists expect 20 record highs for every record low. In parts of the South, the frequency of days above 95 degrees Fahrenheit could triple, to over 75 days per year.”

 

Heat Waves and Climate Change

 

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