Thursday, July 22, 2010

Extreme Heat Could Become Summer's Norm

One thing that has definitely been on our minds more than hurricane season this summer is the extreme heat! It seems that not only the United States, but most locations in the northern hemisphere have been enduring unusually hot, sweltering weather.

In the past month a record heat wave in Russia killed five people and prompted the government to call for siestas. High temperatures in the United States killed five seniors in Maryland, four people in Philadelphia, four people in Dallas, and three people in Tennessee. And to boot, recently released data by NASA shows that global temperatures recorded from January through June 2010 were the highest ever!

Well, guess what? It might be time to get used to it and learn how to deal – these conditions could become the norm in years ahead...

A recent study conducted by Stanford University researchers reveals that unbearable and dangerous heat waves like the one we're now experiencing will emerge on a regular basis by 2039. Such heat waves are obviously devastating and have resulted in illness and fatalities, but they have also proved to destroy crops and challenge energy grids.

The group studied the hottest temperatures in the United States from 1950-1999, then fed them through multiple forecasting models that can simulate daily temperatures over the next 30 years. The results concluded that we could see an increase in heat waves like the one occurring now or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities and put enormous stress on major crops. The forecasting models were based on the likely occurrence that carbon dioxide could raise temperatures 1.8°C degrees. The findings mean that to avoid severe heat waves, governments must look at the possibility that even a two degree increase is too much.

In related news, the heat continues! is expecting this Saturday, July 24, to feel like the hottest day of the summer so far from New York City south to Raleigh, North Carolina, thanks to not only a massive surge of heat, but also excessive humidity. As if it has not been hot enough already, the heat index on Saturday could reach an excessive and oppressive 115°F!

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