New temperature records and debilitating heat: a powerful wave of heat will cover the US
The Northeast United States will be covered by a heat wave, due to which new temperature records will appear. Writes about it Yahoo!.
Unusually hot weather, with temperatures expected to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (+37,7 Celsius) across a wide area of the country, will affect millions of Americans from Texas to Maine and serve as another wake-up call for growing evidence of climate change.
The heatwave will lead to temperatures rising 15 to 25 degrees above average. In most cases, such high temperatures have not been seen since September or August last year.
On May 7, heat records were broken in the Texas cities of Del Rio, San Angelo and Abilene, where in some places the thermometer recorded 112 degrees (+44,4 Celsius). In San Antonio, the first consecutive days in history with a temperature of 100 degrees (+37,7 Celsius) were recorded. The sweltering heat was exacerbated by the suffocating humidity.
“High humidity leads not only to increased discomfort during the day, but also to unusually warm nights that are more typical of July,” said Dan DePodwin, head of forecasting at AccuWeather.
As the heat moved north and east, daytime temperatures in cities like Chicago, Illinois, were higher than even Death Valley in California.
Although the single cause of individual heatwaves is difficult to attribute to climate change, their increasing frequency has been linked to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“Unusually hot days and multi-day heatwaves are a natural part of daily weather fluctuations. However, as the Earth's climate warms, hotter-than-usual days and nights become more frequent. Heatwaves are expected to become more frequent and intense,” the EPA website says.
As average temperatures begin to rise due to climate change, they will amplify any single phenomenon.
“Every heat wave in the world is now getting stronger and more likely to occur due to anthropogenic climate change,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the Imperial College London-based Grantham Institute.
For example, a study published last year on a record-breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest concluded that it was “virtually impossible” for it to happen without anthropogenic climate change.
The onset of very high temperatures in the United States is generally not recorded until late June or early July, similar to the early scorching heat that swept parts of Pakistan and India, which had the hottest March on record and the hottest April in 122 years.
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The trend towards warmer global temperatures has continued. The past seven years have been the hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. This excess heat has played a major role in droughts around the world, such as the one that has intensified in the American Southwest. A United Nations report says that due to rising temperatures associated with climate change, the number and frequency of droughts on the planet have increased by 29% over the past 22 years.
The problem is that rising temperatures speed up evaporation and disrupt normal weather patterns. Unless humanity can quickly phase out fossil fuel energy sources or develop ways to extract carbon from the atmosphere, the coming years will almost certainly be hotter than previous ones.
NASA notes on its website, “The effects of human-caused global warming are now manifesting. They are irreversible on the time scale of people living today and will get worse in the coming decades.”
While this does not mean the end of winter or cold weather, it does indicate that the ratio of record high temperatures will continue to outpace the number of lows, as is already happening.
A 2009 study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that new record high temperatures outpaced new record low temperatures by a ratio of 2:1. Computer models have shown that this disparity will increase to 20:1 by 2050 and 50:1 by 2100.
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