According to new data on the country’s heat risk, an “extreme heat belt” reaching as far north as Chicago is forming, a corridor that cuts across the country and will affect more than 107 million people within a year. The next 30 years, according to new data on the country’s heat risk.
The report released Monday by the nonprofit research group First Street Foundation found that in a column of the American heartland stretching from Texas and Louisiana north to the Great Lakes, residents can experience temperatures of just heat numbers above 125 degrees Fahrenheit by 2053 – conditions more commonly found in California’s Death Valley or in parts of the Middle East.
Forecasts are part of a new, revised project by the First Street Foundation Extreme heat modeling, which shows that much of the country will see an increase in the number of days with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees over the next 30 years as a result of climate change.
Heat index represents the sensation of temperature to the human body when humidity and air temperature are combined. It is often referred to as the “feels like” temperature.
First Street Foundation research director, Jeremy Porter, professor and director of quantitative methods in the social sciences in Ho Chi Minh City. New York University.
It has been a sweltering summer for most of America and Europe. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Latest monthly climate reportpublished on August 8, showing that last month was the country’s third hottest July since record-keeping began nearly 130 years ago.
As humans continue to pump heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, temperatures around the world are rising, increasing both the frequency of extreme heat events and their severity.
First Street researchers used their model to create an online tool called Risk factor to give people hyper-local snapshots of how their properties are affected by extreme temperatures and what could change over the next three decades. The organization has previously created similar resources to assess the risks of specific addresses from wildfires and floods.
The new model uses high-resolution measurements of land surface temperature and combines the effects of canopy cover, proximity to water and other factors that determine temperature variation. Local. Future heat risks are then calculated using different projection scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.
The researchers looked at the seven hottest days expected for any property this year and calculated a possible 30-year equivalence. Across the country, they found that, on average, the community’s seven hottest days are predicted to become the site’s 18 hottest days by 2053.
The most pronounced change was found in Miami-Dade County, which has seven of the region’s hottest days, with heat index temperatures at 103 degrees, expected to rise to 34 days in heat, Porter said. that level for 30 years.
But in addition to the widespread increase in heat exposure, First Street’s model also identified what Porter and his colleagues call “a belt of extreme heat” that covers about a quarter of the area. land of the country.
Approximately 8.1 million US residents in 50 counties are at risk of experiencing heat index temperatures above 125 degrees. But by 2053, it’s forecast to expand to more than 1,000 counties across an area home to more than 107 million people, according to First Street’s model.
The geographical boundaries of the region and its sheer size are surprising, says Porter.
“How far north it extends – I think a lot of people only hear about southern Wisconsin, Chicago and those areas that are part of the extreme heat belt is surprising,” he added.
Noboru Nakamura, a professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the First Street study, said the agricultural impact of such a large-scale heat belt in the central part of the country is exceptional. particularly worrisome.
“If there are hot spots and droughts in these places, farmers will have to change their priorities and what crops they will grow, and that will have a lot of long-term consequences,” said Nakamura.
There are also major public health and safety concerns about heat exposure, he added. Nationwide, hot weather causes more deaths every year than any other weather event, according to the National Weather Service.
An increase in extreme temperatures has the potential to affect people’s lives and livelihoods in certain places, said Nakamura, and they may even act as a factor in making people choose to stay warm. called home.
“If a fraction of a certain number of days per year is above 100 degrees, then unless you have the resources and the infrastructure to stay cool, that makes it very difficult for some places to survive,” says Nakamura. “. “I can certainly envision that shaking people’s decisions about where to live.”