August 12, 2010

Extreme Summer Temps Will Get Worse

Temperatures have been reaching record highs in states all across America this summer, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is warning people that the worst may be yet to come.

At least 70 million Americans experienced extreme heat conditions during the past two months, the NWF states in a recent report entitled "Extreme Heat in Summer 2010: A Window on the Future."

"In 2010, New Jersey, Delaware, and North Carolina had their hottest June on record, while Rhode Island and Delaware had their hottest July. Sixteen other states had Junes or Julys that ranked in the top-five hottest," the report claims, adding that "hundreds" of daily temperature records have been shattered at locations throughout the United States and that most areas have had "about twice as many" 90-plus degree Fahrenheit days this year than normal.

They also warn that people can expect things to get much, much worse.

"Unfortunately, climate models indicate that an average summer in 2050 will have even more days topping 90°F if global warming continues unabated," the NWF claims in their report. "Summers like the current one, or even worse, will become the norm by 2050 if global warming pollution continues to increase unabated... By midcentury, an average summer could have 55 to 100 such days, depending on how much we curb global warming pollution."

Earlier this week, climate change was also tied to the extreme heat and wildfires occurring this summer in Russia, where record temperatures have topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the worst days. Like the NWF, WWF Russia climate chief Dr. Alexei Kokorin sees things getting worse.

"We have to get ready to fight such fires in the future because there is a great possibility that such a summer will be repeated. This tendency won't stop in the coming 40 years or so, until the greenhouse gas emissions are reduced," he told BBC Science Reporter Katia Moskvitch Tuesday.

"In a few decades, fires may affect the main forest regions of Russia," Kokorin added. "We can now say that the wave of abnormal phenomena that the rest of the world has been experiencing has finally reached central Russia."

The message comes through loud and clear, says NWF spokesman Tony Iallonardo.

"There is a price that we pay for not taking action on global warming," he told AFP on Wednesday. "There's a price in terms of lives and in terms of the structure we're going to have to put in place to prepare better for global warming, including getting seniors and at-risk populations ready for the health risks."


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