For nearly a month, millions of people across the American Southwest have sweltered and perspired, enduring the relentless heat wave.
On a daily basis, residents from Fresno to Phoenix have been facing temperatures in the triple digits and sweltering, restless nights that have offered little relief.
Forecasters say that the heat wave is being driven by a high-pressure ridge that has parked itself over the region, creating a slowly sinking cooker of warm air.
Some experts say that the onset of El Niño is a worrisome indication of altered climate, caused by the colliding behavior of humans.
“Expressed Katharine Jacobs, head of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona, ‘It’s nearly impracticable to elucidate these alterations in the nonexistence of climate change — we would not perceive the sorts of temperatures worldwide that we’re perceiving without climate change.’ ‘At this juncture, I believe El Niño is aiding in extraordinarily elevated temperatures for Arizona and the southern border of the U.S.,’ She appended.”
In the early months of July and June, the planet experienced its hottest days on record, with temperatures reaching an average of 62.46 degrees. This occurrence is linked to a recurring climate pattern in the tropical Pacific known as El Niño, which is typically associated with higher global temperatures.
Jacobs mentioned that the elevated pressure linked to the heat dome might also possess an additional obstructing characteristic that is impeding the usual movement of weather. Consequently, the usual occurrence of rain and clouds originating from the Gulf of Mexico during this period of the year is yet to transpire and alleviate the heat. Furthermore, in the southwestern region of the U.S., El Niño could potentially be causing a delayed monsoon season.
We have seen a lot more of this kind of behavior since the climate change signal has been identified, where the weather doesn’t just move east with the stream jet as we would expect.
Researchers are indeed investigating whether human-caused climate change is altering the fast-moving air currents, known as jet streams, that drive weather across the globe.
Undoubtedly, climate change is the cause of the ongoing heat wave in the Southwest, along with the concurrent heat waves in Europe and China, as indicated by a study released this week by World Weather Attribution. It is indisputable that these occurrences are happening in the context of global warming resulting from greenhouse gas emissions.
The study discovered that China experienced a temperature increase of 1.8 degrees Celsius due to a heatwave, while the U.S. And Mexico saw a temperature rise of 3.6 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the European region experienced a significant climate change with a temperature increase of 4.5 degrees Celsius caused by a heatwave.
“According to Daniel Cayan, a research meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in UC San Diego, it is expected that the extreme heat we are currently experiencing will become more frequent in the next thirty years, and it is highly probable that the warming trend will persist, establishing a new baseline.”
According to his statements, the number of heat wave days could potentially double by 2050, with these occurrences becoming increasingly intense and enduring, as suggested by model projections.
He said, “It’s remarkable how unusual it is to compare what happened in 2023 to what will happen in 2047. You’ll probably remark about it if you’re writing this article in 2047, but we’re experiencing a taste of summer this year.”
The ongoing heatwave has already made life unbearable for millions of individuals.
Bakersfield has experienced 15 days of temperatures in the triple digits this July, ending a streak of 10 consecutive days. Similarly, Fresno has seen 14 consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures, with the majority of the month having temperatures above or at 100 degrees in California’s Central Valley.
Mary Lisa Russell, a spokesperson from the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, stated, “We are extremely busy.” She mentioned that “whenever there is high temperature, there is an increase in the number of individuals arriving at a trauma center.” However, she was unable to provide the precise figures for the hospital’s intake of heat-related illnesses.
Degrees 170 up to temperatures at sizzling are sidewalks from burns pavement suffering are people that high so are temperatures Phoenix, in.
Austin Jamison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, stated that Wednesday, the 27th day, was expected to be exceptionally hot. This day in 1974 broke the previous record of 18 consecutive days with temperatures reaching higher than 110 degrees, completely surpassing it. The city has experienced 26 consecutive days of scorching temperatures, and Phoenix refuses to back down as it continues to break one heatwave record after another.
“It’s been numerous days, it’s somewhat blending one into the following,” Jamison expressed.
However, while excessive hot days are a cause for worry, hot nights can also be hazardous.
Jacobs, from the University of Arizona, expressed, “Heatwaves are assessed in relation to their intensity and duration, and I believe that this specific one is setting new records in both aspects.” “What’s especially alarming is that the nighttime temperatures are exceptionally high, which poses a challenge for individuals to recuperate from the daytime heat.”
In 2012 and 2020, the previous record was set by seven days. Phoenix experienced a low temperature drop below 90 degrees for the first time in 16 days.
Cayan, from Scripps, mentioned that these types of patterns are also expected to rise.
He said, “destroy that and also provide cooling energy for the health of many people. Of course, it has a lot of impacts on human health, as well as the fact that it prevents households from overheating. Furthermore, it has significant effects on ecosystems, and it is crucial to observe that it also prevents heatwaves and nighttime heat waves, which are a consequence of many negative outcomes.”
The climate scientist at UCLA stated that there may be other factors behind the simmering heat in July. These factors include the record-breaking amounts of heat-trapping water vapor shot into the stratosphere, which resulted from the eruption of the Tonga Hunga volcano in 2022.
It is possible that it could have resulted in temporary global warming, but Swain mentioned that the consequences of the volcanic eruption are still under investigation in a briefing held this week.
In August, additional warmth is on its way, as seasonal predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest. However, the respite may be brief, with conditions anticipated to be somewhat nearer to average in various regions of the Southwest starting next week. There is some alleviation on the horizon.
NOAA officials also stated that the odds are growing for 2023 to be among Earth’s hottest years, and it will probably be even hotter than the current record if that happens.
Swain remarked, “The reason why this is the warmest year on record globally and much warmer than anything we observed in the 20th century is because climate change has brought about a significant downward shift.”