Yeah, It’s Hot. And It’s Going to Get Hotter.
I don’t know about where you are, but it’s sure been hot this summer here in Michigan. My circa-1900 home doesn’t have air conditioning, a fact that, even in this heat, I’m continually thankful for.
But, not everyone feels that way. Power grids have been strained to the max this June and July, as temperatures topped 100 degrees for days over much of the country.
According to a new study just released by Stanford University, however, we might just have to get used to it.
Scientists Noah Diffenbaugh and Moetasm Ashfaq have concluded that extremely long, hot heat waves will become fairly common over the next 30 years. In Deffenbaugh’s words, as reported by the Standford News:
“In the next 30 years, we could see an increase in heat waves like the one now occurring in the eastern United States or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities,” said Diffenbaugh, a center fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. “Those kinds of severe heat events also put enormous stress on major crops like corn, soybean, cotton and wine grapes, causing a significant reduction in yields.”
Diffenbaugh and Ashfaq’s study was conducted over a two-year period, and used over two dozen climate models to predict future climate fluctuations.
The scientists discovered that the United States is likely to see 3-5 intense heat waves in the years to come. And the West and Southwest will be even worse; that area is forecast to see 7 or more. They also discovered that we’re increasingly going to see our “hottest daily temperature” met more regularly the closer we get to 2030.
What We Can Do to Help
So, ok, yes this is a bit dispiriting. Especially if you live in Phoenix or Santa Fe.
What we can do about it?
1. We have to start by reducing our greenhouse gasses. Drive less, buy less stuff, use less electricity, turn down the A/C…these are all easy ways we can reduce our footprint.
2. We also need to insulate our homes as best we can. The better our homes are insulated, the less work our heat and air conditioning units have to do. This translates into less energy used, and less greenhouse gasses that are put out into the atmosphere.
3. We can grow our own fruits and vegetables. Many of us buy fruits and vegetables that have been trucked, or flown, hundreds or thousands of miles to our store. All this travel adds more carbon into our atmosphere. Growing our own food, and buying locally grown food, eliminates our hand in this. And the more people that do this, the less food has to travel.
I know those may seem like small steps, but those little things add up. Especially when thousands or millions of people start doing them. But, it all starts with us!