Heat waves are Canada’s deadliest form of extreme weather, a federal disaster database shows.
And according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the threat they present will only grow amid rising extreme temperatures, continuing urbanization and increasing numbers of vulnerable people. Yet public warnings have often been impugned for not reaching people soon enough, or worse still, deluging them with contradictory advice. And officials whose job it is to respond to the warnings have been criticized for not being adequately prepared to protect people.
Public safety experts love acronyms, and the one they’ve come up with for these two functions is HARS: heat alert and response systems. Such systems are intended to reduce the impact of extreme heat, particularly deaths, by warning citizens to drink more water, avoid outdoor activity or check on granny. But a HARS is about more than just issuing public bulletins: An advisory also needs to kick off responses from public officials, such as extending operating hours of swimming pools, shopping malls, libraries and other facilities where people can cool off, or staffing up 911 centres to handle a deluge of emergency calls
Some HARS clearly leave much to be desired. In June, a death review panel convened by the B.C. Coroners Service concluded last year’s extraordinary heat dome led to as many as 619 heat-related deaths, mostly of older people who lived alone and suffered from chronic diseases. Among its major findings was “a lag” between heat alerts issued by the federal Environment Ministry, and the responses of B.C.’s public agencies.
“We’re really far from being prepared,” said Glen Kenny, a professor at the University of Ottawa who researches heat strain. “And we’re certainly slow on the take when it comes to alerting people.”
The panel’s report said little about the reasons for that lag, nor did it indicate how many of the deaths an effective HARS might have prevented. (The coroners service did not make panel members available for an interview to answer questions about what specifically went wrong.) Nevertheless, the panel urged B.C. to establish a more co-ordinated system.
Heat warnings issued as temperatures expected to reach or surpass 30 C in parts of Canada
How you (and your home) can stay cool in a heat wave
The province was already working on it. In a statement to The Globe, Emergency Management BC spokesperson Aimée Harper wrote that B.C.’s new HARS is already able to issue heat warnings, including ones that interrupt television and radio broadcasts. EMBC has also collaborated with health authorities to support individuals most at risk during heat waves, and has developed a guide in multiple languages on how residents should prepare for extreme heat.
“Many of the recommendations from the panel’s report are complete or under way in preparation for this summer,” she wrote.
That some heat alert and response systems underperform is perhaps not surprising. “Some of the first ones in Canada, even internationally, only started in the late 1990s: Toronto, for example, and Montreal,” said Peter Berry, senior policy adviser with Health Canada. “So this is fairly new.”
It’s tough to generalize about the state of Canada’s HARS because like much else in Canada, they’re highly balkanized. Health authorities, municipalities and provinces have their own approaches. That’s not entirely a bad thing: the needs of a rural organization such as Manitoba’s Assiniboine Regional Health Authority should differ significantly from Fredericton’s, which in turn won’t be the same as Vancouver’s.
Health Canada began providing guidance on developing HARS about 15 years ago. Soon afterward, Quebec introduced a system known as SUPREME, which created indicators relating to heat risks including socioeconomic characteristics of neighbourhoods such as population density, or the locations of urban heat islands (areas of a city that are typically hotter than their surroundings). Alberta created its Heat Warning and Information System (HWIS).
Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette wrote in an e-mail that HARS coverage has been increasing. According to the ministry’s latest monitoring, 79 per cent of health regions across the country were already issuing heat warnings, or had decided against doing so based on scientific evidence demonstrating that heat wasn’t threatening health in their jurisdiction. That’s up from 73 per cent a few years earlier.
B.C. had been among the laggards: a 2017 study by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control found most of that province’s municipalities and health authorities lacked a comprehensive HARS. “At that time, planning for extreme heat was considered a lower priority because the risk seemed low, there were other competing priorities with fixed resources, or heat response planning was not considered their responsibility,” the panel’s report observed.
Just how many lives are saved by HARS is disputed. Some researchers have found them to be protective during heatwaves in France, Italy, China, India and elsewhere. According to an assessment on ClimateData.ca, an online data portal administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and several partners, a heat wave in Quebec in 2018 caused less mortality and morbidity than one in 2010; its explanation included SUPREME, as well as increased adoption of air conditioning and other factors.
“We know these [HARS] can be effective,” Dr. Berry said.
Others have concluded that there isn’t sufficient evidence to demonstrate a measurable impact. A study of heat alerts issued by the U.S. National Weather Service for 20 U.S. cities between 2001 and 2006 found that with the exception of Philadelphia, there was no statistically significant evidence that the harm of those events was reduced. “The effectiveness of these alerts in preventing deaths remains largely unknown,” the authors concluded.
Their point wasn’t that HARS are useless, but rather that improvements were needed. “These results highlight the need to better link alerts to effective communication and intervention strategies to reduce heat-related mortality,” they added.
When it comes to climate change, Canada is least prepared in the places that matter most
Extreme heat should be considered a natural disaster: report
Heat alert and response systems face a number of challenges. Even accurately predicting a heat wave is difficult. Of 98 heat waves observed in Quebec between 2010 and 2016, the SUPREME system issued warnings for only 47, meaning it missed more than half. While that might erode its credibility, a hypervigilant heat advisory system could be even worse.
“If they’re triggered too many times, people are going to ignore them,” Dr. Kenny said.
Typically, heat warnings are issued when outdoor temperatures are expected to surpass certain thresholds – for example, 31 degrees for two days in a row, and nighttime temperatures that won’t dip below 20. Setting such triggers is more difficult than it might seem. Most official weather stations are at airports, where temperatures can be significantly lower than in nearby urban environments. But what really matters is what’s happening indoors, where people typically retreat during heat waves.
“Within neighbourhoods, or within regions, you’re going to have a vast difference in temperatures,” Dr. Kenny said. “There’s a few studies that have looked at indoor temperatures, and during a heat wave they can vary dramatically by eight to 10 degrees.” The upshot: Some people might face hazardous conditions well before airport weather stations signal a problem.
Further layers of complexity are introduced because some of the people most at risk during heat waves might be difficult to reach. Not everyone has a Twitter account, for instance, or a mobile phone. Many don’t speak English or French as their first language. Some are socially isolated and may not even answer a knock at the door.
An effective HARS must be tailored to each individual community’s demographics, resources and other characteristics, but many health authorities lack the detailed data necessary to assess their community’s vulnerability to heat. They may therefore lack basic insights such as whether the most vulnerable individuals have air conditioning or can access cooling centres, hydration stations and other resources.
Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) produces reports on the health consequences of heat waves for each year during which they occur. Dr. Berry said such regular evaluations are crucial for improving HARS. “Health authorities are very busy and it’s difficult sometimes to do these robust evaluations, but they’re really important,” he said.
Heat alert and response systems are limited in what they can achieve as stand-alone initiatives. Health Canada suggests they’re most effective when combined with longer-term preventive measures such as planting trees or introducing lighter-coloured roofing to help keep neighbourhoods cooler.
“Certainly the heat alerts are good,” Dr. Kenny said. “I do think they have their limits.”
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Planting trees and other vegetation lowers surface and air temperatures by providing shade and cooling through evapotranspiration. Trees and vegetation that directly shade your home can decrease the need for air conditioning, making your home more comfortable and reducing your energy bill.
Heat waves can occur anywhere in Canada, though are most common in southern regions of the country. Extreme heat is most common in the summer, between June and September. Local governments will plan for heat waves by opening cooling centres throughout the area.
Ecological impacts: Heatwaves, without concomitant increases in precipitation, can lead to water shortages and increased stress for plants, particularly in arid regions. This has the effect of reducing plant growth, the basis of energy production and the food chain, with an overall drying-out of the landscape.
We define it as a period of at least three days in a row that reach 30 °C or higher. We use this because 30 °C is experienced as a 'hot' day anywhere in Canada, and a string of these hot days will increase the likelihood of heat impacts that matter to Canadians.
Extreme heat events can be dangerous to health – even fatal. These events result in increased hospital admissions for heat- related illness, as well as cardiovascular and respiratory disorders. Extreme heat events can trigger a variety of heat stress conditions, such as heat stroke.
Heatwaves can burden health and emergency services and also increase strain on water, energy and transportation resulting in power shortages or even blackouts. Food and livelihood security may also be strained if people lose their crops or livestock due to extreme heat.
region of warm, dry air and appropriate flow pattern for transporting hot air over the region". That, along with an absence of moisture in the upper atmosphere, which enables temperature rise, and a practically cloudless sky provide the recipe for a heat wave.
What's causing the current heatwave? | Inside Story - YouTube
The elderly population segment is the most vulnerable to the dangers of heat. Of the 522 deaths that occurred in Chicago during the July 12-16, 1995 heat wave, 371 (73 percent) were age 65 or older. The elderly suffer due to the diminished ability to perspire.
When people are exposed to extreme heat, they can suffer from potentially deadly illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Hot temperatures can also contribute to deaths from heart attacks, strokes, and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
Temperature extremes most directly affect health by compromising the body's ability to regulate its internal temperature. Loss of internal temperature control can result in various illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and hyperthermia from extreme heat events.
"We're seeing an increase in hot extremes in Canada that's larger than the global mean warming," said Nathan Gillett, a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. "The average warming in Canada is about twice the global mean warming. And the heat extremes are also increasing at a similar rate.
Future Hot Spots
The most vulnerable areas include South Asia, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea by around 2050; and Eastern China, parts of Southeast Asia, and Brazil by 2070.
According to the National Weather Service, a heat wave is defined as "a period of abnormally hot weather generally lasting more than two days." "Heat waves can occur with or without high humidity.
The hot season lasts for 3.4 months, from June 4 to September 18, with an average daily high temperature above 88°F. The hottest month of the year in Dallas is August, with an average high of 95°F and low of 76°F.
Hormonal fluctuations, thyroid problems, or heat-related disorders like heat exhaustion and heat stroke are possible causes of a head that feels hot. If your head feels warmer recently and you have other accompanying symptoms, it's important to seek medical help.
No, generally you should not open windows in summer if it is hotter outside than inside. You should also keep curtains and blinds closed, to further keep out the heat. As with opening your windows, the best time to let any light in during the day is in the morning, before the temperature rises too much.
To improve resilience to future extreme heat events, cities can incorporate heat island reduction strategies—such as green or cool roofs, cool pavements, or increased vegetation and trees—into long-term planning efforts to help lower urban temperatures.
- Take a cold shower or bath. ...
- Use cold washrags on your neck or wrists.
- Use box fans. ...
- Close your curtains or blinds. ...
- Sleep in breathable linens. ...
- Sleep in the basement. ...
- Don't refrigerate or freeze blankets or clothing. ...
- Close the doors of unused rooms.
Heat waves are typically caused by "unusually strong, high pressure systems," said Feldkircher. According to the Farmer's Almanac, air from atmospheric upper levels is pulled downward and is then compressed, causing increases in temperature. The longer this high pressure system stays, the hotter the area becomes.
Generally, if your house is decently insulated, keep the windows and blinds closed when the sun is shining. Open the windows in the evening and at night. More specifically, keep the windows closed when the outside temperature is hotter than it is inside, and open the windows when it's cooler outside than inside.
- Rotate Your Ceiling Fan Counter-Clockwise. ...
- Block The Heat With Your Curtains. ...
- Open Your Windows In The Evenings. ...
- Opt For Cotton Sheets. ...
- Create A DIY 'Air Conditioner' ...
- Turn On Your Kitchen Exhaust Fan. ...
- Drink More Water. ...
- Create A Cross Breeze.
Think the intense heat baking the nation and much of the world this summer seems like an apocalyptic blockbuster? Just wait for the sequel.
Already occurring more often, heat waves are forecast to increase in potency and duration because of climate change , say scientists, who fear the globe is ill-prepared to handle the punishing toll.. With every increase, scientists say extreme temperatures and heat waves will have a brutal impact on daily life , human health, the workforce and transportation.. There is "literally no question" that heat waves are becoming more intense and more frequent in the U.S. and around the world because of climate change, Penn State University meteorologist Michael Mann said.. "But we would not be seeing this record heat wave, or the unprecedented 'heat dome' last summer, if not for human-caused warming from fossil-fuel burning.". More than 9,000 warm temperature records were broken around the world in July, nearly 6,000 of those in the U.S., according to the National Climate Data Center.. Meehl and colleagues compared heat records set then to records today.. In any given decade, chances of a record high or record low should be equal, he said, but in the 1930s, the odds leaned heavily toward heat records, 1.7 to 1.. Every little bit of warming will increase the frequency and intensity of heat waves and heat extremes, and droughts also are expected to increase, said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, a research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada.. Heat waves that used to happen every 10 years already happen three times more often, said Claudia Tebaldi, an earth scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington.. If the global average temperature rises to 2.7 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures—forecast to happen over the next 10-15 years—those heat waves could occur four times more often.. She said heat waves that once occurred every 50 years are five times more frequent now and will become "almost nine times more frequent.". Cities are even more prone to extreme heat because of the "urban heat island" effect, Mann said.. Extreme heat is not only deadly but incredibly expensive, Raimondo said when announcing the administration's new website for extreme heat awareness, Heat.gov.. Citation :. Extreme heat waves may be our new normal, thanks to climate change.
Information on Environment and Climate Change Canada's Weather and Meteorology
Routinely monitor the Environment and Climate Change Canada weather forecasts for watches and warnings of potential heavy rains or severe thunderstorms with local heavy downpours.. Across much of Canada, “straight-line” winds, not tornadoes, cause most thunderstorm wind damage.. The Environment and Climate Change Canada wind criteria for a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is wind gust speeds of 90 km/h or greater.. While wide, damaging, straight-line thunderstorm winds are often confused with tornadoes, tornadoes can produce some of the highest wind speeds on the planet.. Black circle: F5 category tornado, 1 recorded Red circle: F4 category tornado, 5 recorded Orange: circle: F3 category tornado, 24 recorded Green circle: F2 category tornado, 119 recorded Blue circle: F1 category tornado, 478 recorded Purple circle: F0 category tornado, 1217 recorded. The Prairies receive more severe hail events and more damage to crops and personal property than from all other summer severe weather events combined, including tornadoes, severe thunderstorm winds and heavy rains.
Understanding heat waves can help protect you from their impacts. - Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com
Heat waves and excessive heat impact the United States every summer and can have life-threatening consequences.. For example, in many areas of the northern U.S., a heat wave is defined as at least three days with high temperatures 90 degrees or higher.. Extreme heat – especially for several days, as is the case with heat waves – can put stress on the human body; heat illnesses and death could result.. Without relief from the heat at night, heat stress can continue to build and increase the risk of heat illnesses and death.. During a heat wave, several days of high temperatures accompanied by high humidity can become even more worrisome and result in illness and death.. The effects of heat waves can be even worse in cities due to the urban heat island effect, which refers to a metropolitan area that is warmer than the surrounding locations.. Dark buildings and pavement help to create a heat bubble, which allows the heat to be retained more at night, compared to rural areas where vegetation cools faster.. This increase in temperature, both during the day and at night, can make a heat wave even worse in urban areas.. The most important thing to know regarding heat waves is how to stay safe during the persistent extreme heat.
California chronically undercounts the death toll from extreme heat, which disproportionately harms the poor, the elderly and others who are vulnerable.
The Times found that state leaders have ignored years of warnings from within their own agencies that heat was becoming more dangerous.. Data reviewed by The Times show heat-related hospital visits increasing in some parts of California, including Los Angeles County, for at least the last 15 years.. It can’t say how many people died in last year’s heat waves because it does not examine death records during severe heat waves — as authorities in Oregon and Washington did this summer after days of record-breaking temperatures.. In 2013, a group of state agencies, led by the Department of Public Health and California Environmental Protection Agency, issued more than 40 recommendations to prepare for extreme heat.. On Sept. 6, 2020, the temperature reached 121 degrees in Woodland Hills — a record high for L.A. County.. Death certificates aren’t perfect, and it’s common for doctors and coroners to write that a person suffered a heart attack or kidney failure without knowing whether extreme heat played a part.. Monitoring emergency department visits and hospitalizations for heat-related illnesses is a much faster way for state and local health officials to stay on top of dangerous heat waves.. Numbers from the L.A. County Department of Public Health show heat-related emergency department visits have risen in every area of the county since it began measuring in 2005, with the greatest increases in the hottest places: the Antelope and San Fernando valleys.. At home in Desert Hot Springs, Jorge Valerio recalled the day his father died.
Canada heat wave could lead to record temperatures as the southeastern US struggles to reach average summer temperatures ›
As the summer solstice approaches on Saturday, soaring temperatures will bake parts of the Midwest, northern New England and eastern Canada through the weekend, potentially writing new records.
Daytime highs are forecast to reach 33 degrees Celsius, 91 degrees Fahrenheit, for Quebec City on Friday, which will challenge the old record of 31 degrees Celsius, 88 degrees Fahrenheit, set back in 1995.. The definition of a heat wave in Canada is dependent on where you live.. The country's meteorological department, known as Environment Canada , generally refers to heat waves as two or more consecutive days of temperatures at 30 degrees Celsius, 86 degrees Fahrenheit, or above.. Officials are reminding residents that during times of high heat, your health or your family and neighbors' health can deteriorate rapidly.. The recent temperature disparities couldn't be more apparent across the US to Canada as highs have already soared well into the 90s this year for Ottawa and Montreal.. Meanwhile, in the southern US, where you expect these temperatures this time of year, cities like Atlanta await its first 90-degree Fahrenheitreading of the summer.. "Atlanta is used to temperatures in the 90s this time of year, but this is already the third latest start for the first 90 degree temperatures in the city," CNN meteorologist Michael Guy says.. This weather pattern responsible for bringing cooler temperatures to the southeastern US and locking in days of drenching rains across the Carolinas this week is helping force hot and humid weather northward into the St. Lawrence Valley.. From Chicago to Quebec City, temperatures are forecast to soar above average.. Excessive humidity will push the heat index values above 38 degrees Celsius, or 100 degrees Fahrenheit, in Canada where a heat wave is expected.. A heat index value -- known in Canada as -- is what it feels like outside when you take into consideration the humidity and the actual temperature.. The summer heat will be combined with the most intense sunshine of the year as the Earth's north pole is at its maximum tilt toward the sun.
Extreme heat has become increasingly common. It will become even more intense in the years to come. This has serious implications for people, communities, and infrastructure.
Over the coming decades, every region of the US is expected to experience hotter temperatures and more frequent and intense heat waves.. The latest science on how extreme heat has changed and is likely to keep changing as global temperatures rise The current and potential impacts of extreme heat on people How these changes could be curtailed if we take action to reduce the heat-trapping emissions we're putting into the atmosphere. “Heat wave,” “excessive heat event,” “heat advisory,” “hot spell”—extreme heat has many different names but generally refers to temperatures that are either exceptionally high relative to typical local conditions or reach levels that may be harmful to human health or infrastructure.. When extreme daytime temperatures persist over a prolonged period (usually at least two days), it is often referred to as a heat wave.. Heat stress can result and, if not addressed, can lead to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.. The impacts of temperature extremes on human health and well-being are therefore generally considered in concert with humidity to measure heat stress conditions : those in which the human body has difficulty cooling itself.. Extreme heat events can be measured in a few different ways: the maximum temperatures hit (intensity), how often the events occur (frequency), or how long they last (duration).. The Dust Bowl era of the 1930s holds the record for peak frequency, intensity, and duration of heat waves across much of the United States to this day—but the frequency and intensity of heat waves have increased in the last several decades in many regions.. In addition to changes in extreme temperatures alone, studies of heat stress trends over the late 20th to early 21st century found increases across much of the country in the conditions that cause heat stress for humans.. In a study of changes in extreme heat stress conditions at 187 weather stations across the US between 1949 and 2005, 20 percent of the stations had recorded a substantial increase in the number of one-day, extreme heat stress events (relative to local conditions between 1961 and 1990).. When exposure to heat is high enough to raise the body's core temperature, heat stress illness—which encompasses heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke—can occur.. Working outside — Millions of people living in the United States work primarily outdoors—construction workers, police officers, farm workers, military personnel, roofers, postal workers, landscapers, and others—and are at risk of heat stress when temperatures soar.. By stabilizing global carbon emissions in the next few decades (so that atmospheric carbon dioxide remains below 550 parts per million by 2100), the frequency of heat waves the US is likely to see around mid-century would be reduced by approximately 50 percent, compared to a scenario in which carbon emissions continue to increase rapidly through to 2100.. For example, in the coming decades increased reliance on air conditioning to cope with extreme heat is likely to contribute to increased global warming emissions, worsening air quality, and an increase in air pollution–related mortality unless we more aggressively invest in clean energy technology, energy conservation, and energy efficiency measures.
Hundreds of people who perished during the historic heat wave in British Columbia last summer died in homes ill-suited for temperatures that spiked into the high 30s.
Hundreds of people who perished during the historic heat wave in British Columbia last summer died in homes ill-suited for temperatures that spiked into the high 30s and beyond for days,a report by B.C.’s coroners’ service found this month.. Just one per cent of victims had air conditioners that were on at the time.. Rysanek said it’s important to ensure such vulnerable people have access to air conditioningwhen temperatures become dangerously hot.. Alex Boston, who served on the coroner’s review panel, said “underlying vulnerabilities” to dangerous heat are growing in B.C., and across the country, as a result of demographic change and how homes and communities have been built.. Climate change and prairie geography – Jun 23, 2022. Failing to ensure that buildings are surrounded by trees to provide shade and evaporative cooling would be “shooting ourselves in the foot in terms of the energy load and the cooling demand of a building in the future,” said Rysanek, calling for “very robust” requirements for vegetation and landscaping to mitigate extreme heat.
New research predicts heat waves in Canada could become more frequent — and five times more deadly ›
More than 80 people died from extreme heat in Quebec alone last month, and this concerning trend is only expected to get worse, according to a study published…
More than 80 people died from extreme heat in Quebec alone last month, and this concerning trend is only expected to get worse, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine. Photo by Jack Boland/Postmedia Network In the midst of a particularly hot summer, new research predicts heat waves will become more frequent in Canada — and up to five times more deadly.. More than 80 people died from extreme heat in Quebec alone last month, and this concerning trend is only expected to get worse, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine .. “There is risk of heat waves around the world and because of this, we will see increased mortality,” said Antonio Gasparrini, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the study.. While countries near the equator will experience higher temperatures, Canadians are less adapted to hot weather, putting them at risk of heat-related deaths.. Researchers collected weather data and non-accidental death data for 21 Canadian cities over those 30 years to estimate how many people died during heat waves.. Then they predicted how high, medium and low variations of population growth, as well as four possible climate futures, could increase the number of heat-related deaths.. Geoff Coulson, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said climate experts worry about a surge in heat waves over the coming decades.. “We must convince people to prepare for heat waves that have not occurred historically, but that are for sure coming due to climate change,” said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo.. During a heat wave, people should remain hydrated (avoiding caffeine and alcohol), refrain from strenuous activities during the day and utilize cooling centres.. Cities should encourage people to build houses with air conditioning, as well as build more cooling centres in communities, and implement emergency systems to check on vulnerable populations during heat waves.
As Canadian cities prepare for more deadly heat waves, limiting increase of climate change could save lives ›
Scientists say thousands of heat deaths could be prevented in cities if the climate goals set by the Paris agreement are achieved
Scientists say thousands of heat deaths could be prevented in cities if the climate goals set by the Paris agreement are achieved. A man with long grey hair and a large beard relaxes in the shade in Memorial Park, during a heat wave in Winnipeg in August 2018.Photo by WINNIPEG SUN/CHRIS PROCAYLO This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.. At one point, the Montreal morgue was filled to capacity and a deal was made with a local funeral home to house more bodies.. Montreal has released a report stating the city will keep a registry of neighbourhoods and homes at the highest risk of extreme heat effects.. This month, the City of Toronto released its Resilience Strategy , which outlines how the city plans to manage the various effects of climate change, including flooding, ice storms, and heat waves.. The Paris Agreement , signed by 194 countries including Canada, the U.S., China and the European Union, aims to limit the global temperature increase due to climate change to a maximum of 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.. According to Dann Mitchell, a research fellow at the University of Bristol and co-lead author of the study who specializes in studying the impacts of climate change, the team began to look into heat mortality rates because it’s one of the areas of climate change research with the least amount of uncertainty in the data.. And, he says, bringing the effects to a local level is one of the most effective ways to get people to understand the severity of climate change.. Although heat waves have been occurring naturally for years and the severity of the events depends on your environment, according to Mitchell, the rising global climate means that heat waves will hit harder than they have in the past.. “If you warmed the planet by one degree, then that exact same event is still a heat wave, but it’s a one degree higher heat wave,” Mitchell said.. Mitchell and his colleagues analyzed the data on heat-related deaths for 15 U.S. cities — including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami — and made predictions for how they would change if the global climate increased by increments of 1.5 degrees Celsius, two degrees Celsius, and three degrees Celsius.. Compared to a global climate increase of three degrees — which is not ideal — the study found that almost every city they studied would see a reduction in heat-related deaths if the Paris Agreement numbers are reached, and even more if the ideal goal of 1.5 degrees is achieved.. For example, a city like New York would be spared 1,980 heat-related deaths with a two-degree increase, but 2,716 deaths would be avoided if the increase was limited to 1.5 degrees.
People should be able to recognize dangerous high temperatures to avoid illness or death from heat. AP Photo/Mark LennihanHeat waves are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States, not the more photogenic windstorms and floods. Hotter summers from climate change are causing concerns over new dangers to people. As a medical school professor, I’ve focused on physiology, neuroscience, the evolution of the big brain and, more recently, climate science and civilization’s vulnera
Humidity.. Unlike the African savanna, the eastern half of the U.S. can be both hot and humid in the summer, thanks to water vapor from the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes.. I experienced high-humidity heat waves there, but none so severe as the Chicago high-humidity heat wave in 1995 that killed 739 people in a week.. Normally sweat evaporates off your skin and you cool down.. Overheated people suffer from and heat exhaustion .. They look flushed and their conversation becomes incoherent.. Shielding the person’s billfold and phone, then pour bottled water to soak the clothing and hair.. If the victim can sit up and drink, provide water but don’t insist.. Heat waves can kill via the dehydration caused by heavy sweating; the altered sodium and potassium concentrations in the blood confuse both heart and nerve cells, and so breathing or heartbeat may suddenly stop.. When an unbroken series of hot nights are forecast, opening cooling centers is not enough.. Neighbors should organize in advance, so that the able regularly check up on the less able, testing for heatstroke with questions that might reveal confusion.. Phone before visiting so that you can ask, “When was the last time the phone rang?” Leave behind cool six-packs of bottled water and snacks for bedside consumption.
Find out what happens when things start to really heat up with this look back at some of the most infamous heat waves in history.
London’s Great Stink of 1858 This summer heat wave has lived in infamy not only for its soaring temperatures but also for the malodorous stench it unleashed on England’s capital.. The Great New York Heat Wave of 1896 At the end of the 19th century, New York City was home to some 3 million people, many occupying the notoriously cramped and stifling tenements of the Lower East Side and other low-income neighborhoods.. When 10 days of relentless heat baked the Big Apple in August 1896, these abysmal living conditions went from an uncomfortable reality to a death sentence for an estimated 1,300 New Yorkers.. A sizable share of the heat wave casualties occurred when people fell asleep, rolled from their perches and plummeted to their deaths; others succumbed to heat stroke and other heat-related ailments.. Even as the death toll mounted, the city government did little to address the disaster, and the heat wave was on the verge of waning by the time the mayor called an emergency meeting.. The North American Heat Wave of 1936 In the United States, the timing of the 1936 North American heat wave could not have been worse.. Like the blistering summer of 2010, the 1936 heat wave started early and followed an unusually cold winter, leaving Americans unprepared for such a drastic change in weather.. The Chicago Heat Wave of 1995 Like much of the central and eastern United States, Chicago had suffered through the devastating heat waves of 1980 and 1988, which persisted for weeks and caused tens of thousands of fatalities nationwide.. But in the summer of 1995, the Windy City lost approximately 700 residents in just five humid and sweltering days–a staggering mortality rate that exposed the city’s inadequate response system while debunking common assumptions about which groups are most susceptible to heat-related death.. On July 13, the temperature in the city hit 106 degrees and the heat index, which takes humidity into account to gauge how hot it actually feels, surpassed 120 degrees.. As the heat lingered, much of Chicago’s urban infrastructure began to break down: excessive air conditioner use maxed out the power grid; relief seekers opened so many hydrants that several communities lost water pressure; and train rails and roads buckled, causing massive commuter delays.. Four years later, when another heat wave hit the city, better preparation and a more rapid response limited the deaths to just over 100.. The European Heat Wave of 2003 In July and August of 2003, countries across Europe sizzled through what some scientists deemed their hottest summer since 1500 A.D.. France was hit hardest by the crisis, suffering an estimated 14,000 fatalities as temperatures soared to 104 degrees in a country with an aging population and limited air conditioning.
In the final week of July, the National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings for 17 states, stretching from the West Coast, across the Midwest, down south into Louisiana and Georgia. Temperatures 10 to 15 F above average threaten the lives and livelihoods of people all across the country.
While someone who’s not used to the heat may only produce 1 liter of sweat per hour, people who have become acclimated can produce 2-3 liters every hour, allowing evaporation to eliminate more than 2 times the amount of heat.. This is why the heat index (a measure that takes into account temperature and relative humidity) and wet bulb globe temperature (a measure commonly used by the military and competitive athletes that takes into account temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle, and cloud cover) are both better at showing how dangerous the heat may be for our health, compared to temperature alone.. If you never get a chance to bring down that core body temperature, if your internal temperatures stay above the range where your cells and your organs can work well for a long time, that’s when you can have the most dangerous effects of heat.. If anyone shows early signs of heat stress, removing clothing, cooling their bodies with cold water, and getting them out of the heat is critical.. Researchers have found that periods of extreme humid heat have more than doubled since 1979, and some places have already had wet-bulb temperatures at the limits of what scientists think humans can tolerate under ideal conditions, meaning for people in perfect health, completely unclothed, in gale-force winds, performing no activity.. The Washington Post : “Historic heat wave in Pacific Northwest has killed hundreds in the U.S. and Canada over the past week,” “Oregon heat wave victims older, lived alone, had no AC.”
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Due to this unusual arctic warming, the polar vortex will start to break down and become unstable, which will cause an increase in the severity and regularity of extreme weather fluctuations.. Many of the things that happened during the Near future will also occur in the Distant Future (increasingly erratic temperature fluctuations, the death of coral reefs, an increasing red tide, anoxic waters, an increasing amount of plastic pollution, floods and droughts, desertification, water shortages, terrorism, etc).. However, I believe this will occur in the Far Future.. Product shortages become commonplace in the global market place, as a mixture of climate change, crop shortages, and state conflicts over finite resources occurs.. Unless human can grow the food they need, a global famine is inevitable.