The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: extreme heat

2023’s weather has been extreme in many ways.  AP Photo/Michael Probst

This story was originally published by The Conversation.  Michael Wysession is Professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Between the record-breaking global heat and extreme downpours, it’s hard to ignore that something unusual is going on with the weather in 2023.

People have been quick to blame climate change – and they’re right: human-caused global warming plays the biggest role. The weekslong heat wave that started in June 2023 in Texas, the U.S. Southwest and Mexico would have been virtually impossible without it, one study found.

However, the extremes this year are sharper than anthropogenic global warming alone would be expected to cause. September temperatures were far above any previous September, and around 3.1 degrees Fahrenheit (1.75 degrees Celsius) above the preindustrial average, according to the European Union’s earth observation program.

July was Earth’s hottest month on record, also by a large margin, with average global temperatures more than half a degree Fahrenheit (a third of a degree Celsius) above the previous record, set just a few years earlier in 2019.

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halloween sun 2014 2kThe Earth’s sun is seen in this NASA image. Scientists said July might be the hottest month in 100,000 years.  

The global heat wave of July 2023 has spared Southern Appalachia. So far.

KNOXVILLE July 2023 has so far offered a scary look at global climate change around the world, and the month is already one for the record books.

This month will likely end up being the hottest July on record, globally speaking. That comes after quantitative conclusions from multiple scientists that the past week was, globally, the warmest in 100,000 years.

The Southern Appalachians have generally been spared from the heat settling on vast portions of the country and world, but that will soon change. The National Weather Service predicts higher than average temperatures flirting with 100 degrees in the Tennessee Valley next week. Record-breaking temperatures are possible. The average high temperature for July in Knoxville is 87 degrees.

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Canopy Nexus Hotel after floodingFlooding is seen outside a popular hotel in Pakistan following historic and devastating flooding linked largely to the melting of highland glaciers.  Wikipedia Commons

Global population growth promises a drastic spike in public health emergencies

This story was originally published by The Conversation. Maureen Lichtveld is dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. 

There are questions that worry me profoundly as an environmental health and population scientist.

Will we have enough food for a growing global population? How will we take care of more people in the next pandemic? What will heat do to millions with hypertension? Will countries wage water wars because of increasing droughts?

These risks all have three things in common: health, climate change and a growing population that the United Nations determined passed 8 billion people in November 2022, which is double the population of just 48 years ago.

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