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Heatwaves Are Becoming Normal Today By City Tech Blogger Shuaixiang Feng


Heatwaves are a period of sweltering weather. While the heat waves occur in that area, animals and humans cannot be exposed to the heat for long periods of time due to heatstroke. Typically, the average temperature of a heatwave can reach 90°F, but a heatwave means here is hotter than its usual. For example,  in Iceland, the average temperature is 33°F, yet in the summertime , it raises to 70°F. The temperature difference can led to an heatwave due to extremely hot weather.  Many people picture  heat waves, occurring only in a drought or desert. Most heatwaves may occur in drought and desert, but due to problems concerning climate change, more regions around the world have unusual temperatures. Heatwaves can cause thousands  of people to die because heat and sunlight may overheat the human body.

In general, heat waves are the result of trapped air. The high-pressure systems force air downward. This force prohibits air near the ground from rising. After that, the sinking air acts as an invisible net. It traps warm ground air in place. For example, during the 2012 heatwave, is a high-pressure system from Mexico caused North America to warm like the air inside an oven. There was no rain without the rising air, and nothing could stop the temperature from scorching weather. [1]

A heatwave is considered one of the most severe natural disasters. In Europe, heatwaves have  caused more human fatalities than any other natural disaster. Many people are aware that rising temperatures is one major factor in climate change. However, people don’t understand how important the problem of climate change is. A search group decides to investigate how climate change affects the heatwave. They set up near Berlin located in eastern Germany, as their investigation area. “According to Köppen’s classification, Berlin’s climate is characterized as a humid, warm temperate climate (Cfb).” This group wants to seek different populations, the city’s built-up area increased, and climate data. This is essential information starting from 1890 to 2015 to figuring out the relationship between heatwaves and climate change. Results show an increase in heatwave occurrence and duration since the end of the 19th century. “The increase in HWF (Number of all days that belong to HWs per year) goes together with an increase in HWN (number of HWs per year) or an increase in HWD mean (mean HW duration), or both (since HWF = HWN*HWDmean).” [2] The results further show that heatwave and climate change have a strong relationship in  individual decades such as the 1930s-1940s,  and the following years 1947,1994, and 2006. These decades were distinctive periods with hot weather conditions in the Berlin region and other European regions. Additionally,  the increased occurrence of HWs after around 1990 goes well together with an enhanced persistence of atmospheric circulation patterns linked to HWs in Europe, which increased rapidly in the 1980s and is thus very likely linked to this enhanced persistence. As a result, heatwave frequency has increased within the last century.

With climate change, heat events have become frequent and intense. The public lacks awareness about the heatwave thinking that heatwaves are a normal hot day. People believe that the only probable solution during heat waves is to turn on the air conditioning which can undermine the issue of climate change. Additionally, it may not be affordable for everyone to purchase AC which can cause problems during humid weather. In a report conducted by Kathryn, a research group made a random sample telephone survey among 719 adults, and follow-up focus groups in the winter of 2012 among seniors and potential senior caregivers. The research concluded that “Of the 24% who were seniors or in fair or poor health, 34 % did not own AC or never/rarely used it on hot days. Of this subgroup, 30 % were unaware of warnings.” [3] It is hard to believe that this is the solution to the problem of heatwaves. Many low-income families are unable to bear the high electricity bill in the summer. In contrast to the COVID-19 impact, the percentage of people who rarely used AC on hot days should increase considerably.

Following the report of Daniel, climate change affects the HWF. The number of days that belong to HWs per year will still increase in the future. The AC is a significant item to adjust the room or area temperature. Nevertheless, many people do not identify AC as an essential health protection strategy. The government can control the AC cost, risk perception problems, risks communications, and improve AC access. Those will help the numerously vulnerable during heatwaves.







[1] “What Is a Heat Wave?” NOAA SciJinks – All About Weather, https://scijinks.gov/heat/.

[2] Fenner, Daniel, et al. “Heat Waves in Berlin and Potsdam, Germany – Long‐term Trends and    Comparison of Heat Wave Definitions from 1893 to 2017.” International Journal of    Climatology, vol. 39, no. 4, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2019, pp. 2422–37, https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.5962.

[3] Lane, Kathryn, et al. Extreme Heat Awareness and Protective Behaviors in New York City. CUNY Academic Works



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