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It's Been a Hot Minute
Heat waves been faking us out
We hope that your second week of May has been going well! As the temperature starts to rise, people are getting ready for summer vibes. Yet, across the globe, while getting more sun is good for picnics and vacation, it’s hard not to notice how much hotter it has really gotten.
Last week, we shared The Pudding’s Weather Map, highlighting record-high temperatures in different U.S. cities and states. This might feel like small changes, but these “daily high” records continue to occur year-round, making every day in general, much hotter than previous years. The very, very hot days are becoming more and more common.
2021 was the sixth warmest year since 1880, with 2020 being the second warmest. In the past two years, most parts of Europe, Africa and Asia recorded the highest temps yet, with Canada setting a new national max temperature. The rise in precipitation, wildfires, and cyclones continued to grow, as the oceans hit record highs in 2021, all across the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and Mediterranean.
Last week, we brought up the extremely challenging heatwave in India and Pakistan, now reaching its third week of triple digit temperatures, scorching the entire South Asia region. Temperatures rise up to above 120°F, coming down to the 90s at night. 2/3 of Indian households have triggered power outages due to the amount of electricity generated by homes and the effective drought. Flash floods from melting glaciers and spikes in air pollution are causing huge economic damage for families.
Unlike previous heatwaves, this heatwave occurred much earlier in the season than usual, while also being spread across the entire South Asia region, instead of a concentrated area.
Down under, Australia faced huge flooding that caused over $4 billion in damage, Brazil felt a huge landslide that killed over 230 people and sudden flooding in South Africa killed at least 395 people. Western Europe faced an incredibly destructive windstorm that did $4.1 billion in damage.
In the U.S., we’re already seeing a mid-May heatwave start to expand from Texas to Maine, including southeastern Canada. The west is also planned to face high temperatures, wildfires and extreme drought. This forecasted extreme heat builds off the already-warm spring, with the potential to break all of the daily all-time highs in these states. It’s difficult to imagine the strain the U.S. energy sector will feel as the temperature rise happened much earlier in the year.
The scariest news from all of this is that there is a 50% chance that we will surpass the 1.5°C in the next 4 years, previously forecasted in 2015 to be impossible to hit. This 1.5°C number indicates the tipping point as set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Typical areas for rainfall and drought are expected to increase in magnitude in the upcoming year.
As sea levels and global temperatures rise, poor communities are impacted the most. These communities and countries have fewer resources to deal with the issues that climate change presents. 37% of the global population live in coastal communities, and with the increase in natural disasters and sea level, it is estimated that 1 billion people will be displaced by 2050. An increase in heat waves and air pollution will result in droughts, water shortages, premature deaths, and endangered livelihoods.
If you’re interested in reading more into climate data, check out the U.S. government’s simple resource.
Things We're Consuming This Week
🌫️ Read this opinion piece in the Scientific American arguing how sustainable air-conditioning should be a human right given the climate crisis.
☀️ Check out the largest floating solar park in Europe, built with over 12,000 solar panels, planning to generate energy for Portugal.
✈️Might want to think about the next flight you take as the airline industry has only met one out of 50 targets set for climate change, either revising, ignoring, or missing them entirely.
🧂 Dive deep into the problem with salt water rising as soaring temperatures cause greater evaporation, eventually leading to increased salt levels in soil.
👀 Take a look back into history with NPR at the start of the international climate discussion.
⛓️ A curious connection has been found with decreasing air pollution and an increase in hurricanes in the North Atlantic.
Things You Can Do
If you're looking for ways to cool off sustainably (and maybe even reduce your energy bills), look no further:
Once the sun sets, open up all your windows to cool your house down. If you have fans, place one at one end of your house, and the other at another end of your house. This will result in air circulating within your house. Remember to close all your windows in the morning!
Unplug at nighttime: electronics give off heat when plugged in. Unplugging your devices at night time will reduce your energy bill and emit less heat in your home.
To mimic the cool AC, take a bowl of ice and put it at an angle right in front of the fan! This will further chill the air from the fan 🧊.
Hang dry your laundry when it's hot outside.
To cool down your body, here's some fun & fresh summer recipes
Questions or comments on this piece? Want to know more about green energy? Suggestions on what we should cover next? Send us a note.