Deadly Heat Waves Rising

Earlier this month, the annual State of the Climate report validated that 2015 eclipsed 2014 as the hottest year since the inception of continuous record keeping in 1880.

Four hundred and fifty of my colleagues from 62 countries worked to compile the 2015 State of the Climate report.

GHGs 16 May 16

The diminishing Arctic Sea ice cover and concurrent epic rise of methane, 100 times stronger at trapping heat than carbon dioxide for the first couple decades in the atmosphere, from unthawing subarctic soils, continues to shatter all records in modern times.

The year 2016 is predicted to surpass 2015 as the hottest year ever recorded.

Phalodi India - Earth Doctor Reese Halter

For instance, this year on May 19, Phalodi reached 1240F (51C), a record temperature for India. The ensuing extreme heat wave saw bodies stacked up in morgues across the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

Area in green  sizzled at 129F (54C). Photo credit: twitter.com

Area in green (Kuwait & Iraq) sizzled at 129F (54C), a new Eastern Hemisphere temperature record. Photo credit: twitter.com

On July 21, a weather station in Mitribah, a remote area in northwest Kuwait, recorded the temperature along with Basra, across the border in Iraq, of 1290F (54C) — an all-time high temperature record for the Eastern Hemisphere.

The mercury is predicted to soar into triple digits this weekend along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, with insufferably high humidities. Heat waves are becoming the new normal as we glimpse unintended consequences of burning climate-altering fossil fuels and more climate-related catastrophes.

Already, the U.N. and my colleagues have forecasted that the Middle East and North Africa will become uninhabitable in the coming decade(s) from prolonged heat waves and water scarcity. Hundreds of millions of people will become climate refugees.

My colleagues from Oxford University have conclusively shown that an extreme heat wave in 2003 killed 506 Parisians and 315 Londoners.

On Jan. 1, 2014 the South Australian town of Moomba reached 120F (49C) prompting the Bureau of Meteorology to add a new heat color to the weather map. Photo credit: Bureau of Meteorology

On Jan. 1, 2014 the South Australian town of Moomba reached 120F (49C) prompting the Bureau of Meteorology to add a new heat color, purple, to the weather map. Photo credit: Bureau of Meteorology

My colleagues at the Climate Council warned that Australians were underprepared to deal with the “killer heat” resulting in 370 deaths during the 2009 heat wave.

Extreme heat waves kill more people than hurricanes, cyclones, floods, tornadoes, wildfires and blizzards in both America and Australia.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that the frequency of extreme heat waves will increase from one every 20 years to as often as one every two to four years as temperatures continue to rise from burning fossil fuels.

The only way to reduce these deadly, extreme heat wave frequencies is to switch from subsidizing fossil fuels ($5.6 trillion annually) and begin promoting green energy technologies.

Southern Right Whales visit the Head of Bight every year to give birth, mate and socialise. They arrive in May and depart around October. They spend the rest of the year travelling to and feeding the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. In June and July most of the whales in the area are adults. This is a good time to see these vast creatures mating. By the end of August it is common to see the mothers and calves swimming together along the cliffs. It is sometimes possible to see 70 or more whales from the platform at this time. By October the calves have grown and become large enough to join their mothers on the long migration south. Photo credit: wildlifeextra.com

Southern Right Whales visit the Head of the Great Australian Bight every year to give birth, mate and socialize. They arrive in May and depart around October. They spend the rest of the year travelling to and feeding the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. In June and July most of the whales in the area are adults. By the end of August it is common to see the mothers and calves swimming together along the cliffs. It is sometimes possible to see 70 or more whales from a look-out platform at the Head during late August and early September. By October the calves have grown and become large enough to join their mothers on the long migration south. Photo credit: wildlifeextra.com

It also means protecting the oceans, not plundering them by extracting 1.9 billion barrels of heat-trapping oil and gas as proposed by BP in the Great Australian Bight Marine National Park.

#SaveNatureNow

'Shocking images' reveal death of 22,000 acres of mangroves across Northern Australia. Photo credit: abc.net.au

“Shocking images” reveal unprecedented death of 22,000 acres of mangroves across Northern Australia from prolonged droughts. Photo credit: abc.net.au

It’s not just people at risk; nature is collapsing on land and under the sea as temperatures continue to rise. We need nature in order to survive on our planet.

#FightForTheBight

#FightForTheBight - Earth Doctor Reese Halter 18

 

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save our Oceans.”

This entry was posted in Climate in Crisis, Energy, Future Proof, Future Proofing, Nature. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>