By Anne T. Sulton, Ph.D., J.D.
JA Senior International Correspondent
Many scientists agree heat waves are caused by or result from or are associated with a changing climate.
The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency defines heat waves as “series of unusually hot days”.
Jackson, Mississippi currently is experiencing temperatures in the 80s and 90s. However, this is not unusually hot for Jackson. Thus, not a heat wave.
Salt Lake City, Utah recently reached 107 degrees and expects temperatures to hover around 100 degrees for the next couple of weeks. This is unusually hot for Salt Lake City. This is a heat wave.
According to the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat wave frequency, duration, season, and intensity are increasing. The data-based charts below show the trend.
The USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.”
The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide “the number of people exposed to heat waves increased by around 125 million.” Consequently, across the globe, we expect heat related deaths to increase.
In my view, heat waves are among the ways our planet is screaming that it is in pain. Climate change is happening now.
When – by what date certain – will we prioritize our planet’s health and upon which we depend for our survival?