On July 24, a new temperature record was set in Imperial, California. What made this scorching 119 degree Fahrenheit record so unusual is that it was measured while it was raining. It seems that rain seldom falls when temperatures are above 100 degrees; so this event, as reported in EcoWatch was truly extreme.
“It means that not only is Earth getting hotter but also more humid. And that is the link between a changing climate and health,” said weather expert, Jeff Beradelli.
Record temperatures are being set around the world from Japan and South Korea to Europe where Lisbon, Portugal had temperatures reaching an astounding 44 degrees Centigrade.
Study Says Prepare for Warmth
A new forecasting research study predicts “anomalously warm weather between 2018-2022.” The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, reinforces long-term climate change trends. The authors clarified that their research only predicts warmer temperatures on a broad global scale, meaning individual regions might not necessarily experience more heat waves.
The threat of forest fires to human health is clear, as depicted in this graphic from the National Weather Service showing the plumes of smoke extending from California east across the US as far as New England. California’s governor laments that there is no longer a “season for forest fires;” fighting forest fires is now ongoing throughout the entire year.
Extreme heat kills an average of 1,300 people annually in the US alone, a figure clearly on the rise as heat events become more common. However, this figure does not include the more insidious ways in which rising annual temperatures can kill. More areas of North America are seeing outbreaks in mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile and the Zika virus.
Extreme Algae Blooms Hit Florida Beaches
Rising temperatures have an effect far beyond our human comfort level. Enormous algae blooms along Florida’s gulf coast are claiming large numbers of marine life including fish, sea turtles, even a whale shark, victims of neurotoxins from huge algae blooms called red tide. The saddest image is of an adult manatee suffocated by red tide while it’s young pup clings to its lifeless body.
Although the main culprit causing red tide is nutrient rich agricultural runoff from sugar cane fields washing into Lake Okeechobee and eventually flushed into the Gulf of Mexico, scientists are also showing a clear relationship between high water temperatures and algal blooms. With global warming in our future, so are more red tides.
Wacky Weather and Global Warming
Scientists have claimed that a warming planet certainly contributes to Europe’s current heat wave. And warming ocean temperatures caused by climate change increased the severity of 2017’s hurricanes, three massive storms that wreaked havoc on Houston, the Caribbean and into Florida. Puerto Rico is still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Are we destined to experience more extreme storms during the 2018 hurricane season?
Are heat waves, enormous forest fires, red tide and new diseases the new norm? They certainly will be unless we listen to the dire warnings that Mother Nature is sending to us.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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