Globe felt record heat last month

2023-08-08 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

July was the hottest month on record, with the hottest three-week period ever recorded, the three hottest days on record, and the highest-ever ocean temperatures for this time of year, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

July 6 was the hottest day ever recordedin human history with a global average temperature of 63.01 F.

In South America, where the season is winter, multiple countries saw record high temperatures, and in Chile, the mercury reached 102 F.

"Unbelievable temperatures up to 38.9C in the Chilean Andineareas in mid-winter! Much more than what Southern Europe just had in mid-summer at the same elevation: This event is rewriting all climatic books," tweeted Extreme Temperatures Aroundthe World.

"Chile's winter is disappearing," RaúlCordero, a climate expert from the University of Santiago told The Guardian. "It's not surprising that temperature records are being set all over the world. Climate change ensures these records are broken more and more frequently."

Some parts of Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil also have been experiencing summer temperatures in winter with temperatures ranging between 98 F to 102 F.

"Brutal winter heat in Northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Southern Brazil with temperatures up to 39C. For dozens (of) stations these are records for the first half of August. For at least 5 more days there won't be any relief and we can't rule out some 40Cs [104F]," Extreme Temperatures Aroundthe World said in another tweet.

In arctic Bely Islanof Russia, the temperature reached 79 F. In Florida, the ocean temperature hit 101 F in late July at a depth of 5 feet. It'sbelieved that many reefs around the Florida Keys are now completely bleached or dead, which took only two weeks to happen.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the temperature broke records with more than 30 consecutive days of daily high temperatures exceeding 110 F.

"For vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa and Europe — it is a cruel summer. For the entire planet, it is a disaster. Andfor scientists, it is unequivocal — humans are to blame. All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings. The only surprise is the speed of the change," said United Nations Secretary-General AntónioGuterresat a news event.

The extreme heat has kept many people indoors. Such behavioral change is making a big dent on the economy.

According to a recent study by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, excessive heat is estimatedto cost $100 billion a year in reduced productivity alone. That does not factor in issues like the heat's effects on tourism, infrastructure, healthcare costs and energy costs.

The cost will increase as climate change accelerates, said the study. It projects that the annual productivity loss will reach approximately $200 billion by 2030 and $500 billion by 2050.

Agriculture is most vulnerable to climate change. The center found that extreme heat from lost corn yields led to a drop of $720 million in annual revenue, which is projectedto reach $1.7 billion annually by 2030.

Cattle die in extreme heat also. In June, Kansas state officials said that they were aware of at least 2,000 cattle deaths due to the heat. Iowa and Nebraska also have reported large numbers of cattle deaths in July.

Texas, Mississippi and Alabama will face the biggest heat-related economic losses in the coming decades due to their types of industries and temperatures, said the study.

A recent analysis by Gusto, a payroll processing company, showed that in Texas, outdoor-dependent small and medium sized businesses have experienced a 20 percent drop in the average employee's weekly working hours as of July 15.

In Arizona, the drop was 10 percent. Texas could potentially lose $9.5 billion GDP from heat this year.

The heat is taking a toll on people too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracker showed that in the week ending July 22, regions of California, Nevada and Arizona saw more than 1,258 emergency visits associated with heat-related illness out of 100,000 emergency visits. Regions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana saw more than 900 such emergency visits out of 100,000.

Heat is also killing people. According to the medical examiner of Maricopa County, which includes the cities of Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale, 39 people have been confirmed to have diedof heat complications as of Aug 1, with another 312 heat deaths waiting to be confirmed due to an administrative backlog.

Low-income people are most vulnerable to heat because they are more likely unable to pay for electricity and/or own an air conditioning (AC) unit. They tend to live in denser areas with less green space and experience higher average temperatures, numerous studies suggest.


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