California’s Heat Wave Sets Records, and Stretches Power Grid

A massive dome of high pressure has moved westward and settled over California, causing record high temperatures and sweltering heat across much of the state and threatening to strain the state’s power grid.

Pasadena hit 103 degrees over the weekend, breaking the daily record set in 1938. Burbank hit 110 degrees. To the north, in the Central Valley, a federal meteorologist forecast that Fresno, a city of 126,000 people, will hit a temperature of 114 degrees on Tuesday – three degrees above the all-time high of the city in September.

“It’s definitely a record,” said Bill South, the National Weather Service’s lead meteorologist in Hanford, California.

State officials urged the public on Monday to double or triple their efforts for conservation electricity, warning that record-high electricity demand could force a complete blackout by the end of the day.

“We are now entering the most intense part of this heatwave,” said Elliot Mainzer, chief executive officer of the California Independent Systems Operator, the grid watchdog.

Over the past week, Californians have reduced their electricity usage by up to 2% compared with forecasts, giving grid operators a significant buffer, Mainzer said. But as the heat wave, which is setting records even at night, continues to last through the week, “we need to conserve two to three times more than what we’ve experienced to maintain the power,” he said. Mr. Mainzer said.

In August 2020, hundreds of thousands of Californians lost power due to power outages during a heatwave, but the state ignored that prospect last summer. Governor Gavin Newsom said the state has added at least 8,000 megawatts of clean energy to the grid since 2020, and he signed legislation last week that could allow the state’s last operational nuclear power plant, at Diablo Canyon, remains open after scheduled closures. by 2025. But severe drought has reduced hydroelectricity’s availability and solar power generation wanes as night falls, leaving the state heavily dependent on aging gas-fired power plants. and electricity imported from other states.

Across California, officials have asked residents to set their air conditioners to a fixed 78 degrees in hopes of saving electricity. When the extreme heat hits, the air conditioner acts as a lifesaver. A similar heatwave hit California in 1955 and claimed the lives of 950 people, but nothing quite like the public health disaster that has resulted from a heatwave in the state since then. .

Although the current heatwave is setting records, September’s scorching heat is not unusual in California. High pressure forms – in this case moving westward from New Mexico, Arizona and Utah – and except in coastal cities, temperatures rise more than 100 degrees. The extreme heat dries out forests and grasslands, and can lead to catastrophic wildfires, especially at a time when California is suffering from a prolonged drought. Two major wildfires are currently burning in the state – one north of Los Angeles and the other is in the far north of Siskiyou County – but the total area burned so far this year is down significantly from two years ago.

Many meteorologists and scientists point to more frequent and intense heat waves around the world as clear evidence of the effects of global warming, and that is consistent with many studies. But drawing a direct link between climate change and any single weather event can be difficult.

An increase in heat waves can be seen in temperature records, but over the past century, the decade with the highest frequency of heatwaves has been the 1930s. High temperature records in cities California alone has spanned more than half a century.

Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental science at the University of Colorado Boulder, said: “Clearly, climate change is real and very important, and we must move aggressively. “But it’s not like there’s a safe climate that we’ve turned into a dangerous one.”

Source link


News7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button