Three experts from my second of my series on Extreme Heat: Elizabeth Hanna, Robert Kopp and Jonathan Patz. NASA just announced Earth is heating faster than expected. Deadly heat in India, unheard-of heat in France and Alaska. The Arctic is thawing out. The U.S. East Coast is roasting over 100 degree F. Around the world, people have died and many more will be killed by heat in the future. But how does heat kill? and who? A compilation from the best of Radio Ecoshock (replay).
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Here is the blog for the Elizabeth Hanna interview. She’s a nurse with a doctorate, and National Convenor of the Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Human Health at Australian National University.
My 2010 interview with Dr. Jonathan Patz on climate and health is here. You can download that 19 minute interview here. I talked with Dr. Patz again in November 2018 for the show “Climate Trouble Keeps on Coming“. Download that 28 minute Patz interview here. Wiki summarizes: “Jonathan Patz is a professor and John P. Holton Chair of Health and the Environment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also serves as Director of the Global Health Institute. Wikipedia
Dr. Jonathan Patz, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Robert Kopp explains why humans die in heat waves, and why that will get worse as climate change develops. The program is “Sudden Heat”, posted by Radio Ecoshock June 24, 2015 and found here. Robert Kopp is an associate professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He’s Associate Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute. He was an author in the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
All three of these interviews are transcribed in my book “Surviving in the Age of Extreme Heat”. I sell that for $7 because I need to be repaid for the cost of transcriptions and laying out the book. “Extreme Heat” is well organized. It is an electronic book in a .pdf format. Thus is it fully searchable, and contains lots of hot links to take you directly to source materials and other helpful resources. Buy the book here.
THE HOTTEST NEWS EVER
Extreme heat – hotter than anything seen before in June – is scorching large parts of the Northern Hemisphere. In Siberia, temperatures in the Arctic Circle reached an impossible 118 degrees F, almost 48 degrees C. That was captured by Copernicus Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B satellites on June 20th. This is the far, far northern Russia – in June! In northern Siberia is has been 45 degree F above average for June. Sea ice near the Siberian shores literally melted away from view from the shore.
Scandianvia experienced the same heat wave. Finland’s capital Helsinki reached a new national record for night-time warmth in June. Belarus and Latvia also sweltered under the heat.
THE WEST COAST ENTERS A HISTORIC HEAT STORM
Back in North America, the entire West Coast from the Baja Peninsula of Mexico past the Canadian coast and Rocky Mountains a vast dome of heat is set to park over the land. Oregon is expected to beat it’s all time records with Portland heading above 110 degrees F (43 C). Coastal folk from Portland to Vancouver Canada are not ready for that. Practically no one has air-conditioning.
DEAD RESERVOIRS OF THE WEST
Further inland, the heat gets even more dangerous. In the Okanagan Valley, next to my studio, the coming weekend will likely see 45 degree C heat (113 F). It is already sizzling dry throughout the West as you know. Google some “West drought reservoir” photos. The water in some reservoirs is the lowest ever measured. Hydro electric power (needed for massive air-conditioning during the heat wave) is in doubt in some places. No doubt California, and the nearby states that feed it water, will have to decide whether to provide water for agriculture or city dwellers. That already happened during an extreme drought in Australia a few years back. It was farms along the Murray-Darling River, or the city of Adelaide. Guess who got the water.
WORST WILDFIRE RISK
When a persistent heat wave, over a week long, sits over the great mountain forests of the West, during a historic drought – the vegetation turns to tinder. It only takes a flawed human or lightning strikes to bring in waves of fire forcing evacuations, along with clouds of choking smoke that travel thousands of miles. People with weak hearts or lungs get tested. Death rates go up. Extreme heat creates a more flammable Earth.
We need to deal with the clear and present danger of extreme heat due from all human emissions.
And because we have not done that already, we must adapt quickly as individuals, communities and nations.
All this should be taught in school, and worked into a lot of media to educate the whole population about the dangers of climate change, and changes we can make to avoid even worse. This is the time to revisit three health experts who know the medical side of extreme heat. I don’t need to call these busy people up and ask them to say it again. We just need to listen until we really hear. Please spread this program around as a public service.
NOTES FROM ALEX – LIFE IN A PANDEMIC HEAT WAVE
Thank you to everyone who contributed to Radio Ecoshock this past week. You are helping to pay for the Telephone Hybrid box that was wrecked last week by a nearby lightning strike. A new Hybrid is on its way to the studio. I cannot do new programs until it arrives (assuming that it works). Anyone who wants to pitch in can do so here.
This is pretty well my summer vacation time anyway. With two shots in us, my wife and I were planning to visit one of our kids and grandchild next week. Because of the pandemic, we have not seen them since October 2020. The child cannot yet be vaccinated. Our kids have one shot only, which was the Canadian policy. To keep all safe, we reserved a spot in a nearby campground, and planned our grand reunion dinner outside on a picnic table. With cases currently low in British Columbia, that seemed safe enough. We are not yet ready to spend hours inside a home with people who are not fully vaccinated.
But sit outside in 45 degree C heat? Without any air-conditioning? That isn’t uncomfortable. It is downright dangerous. We have to call off our family reunion because of climate change during a pandemic. Climate is the backdrop to everything. We may have an economic crash during escalating climate change. There may be war during escalating climate change. All the crisis humans create and endure will continue, and be harder, because the conditions of our existence are morphing faster than our social comprehension and reaction.
At times humans have shown an ability for massive social change. The Second World War holds examples. We can also tolerate a lot breakdown before we change. Time is not on our side.
HERE ARE A COUPLE OF ARTICLES ABOUT EXTREME HEAT IN THE WEST
A ‘Record-Breaking and Dangerous’ Heat Wave Is About to Hit the West Coast
The record-obliterating heat wave will hit California, Oregon, and Washington amid a megadrought. By Brian Kahn
“. If the forecasts come to fruition, we’re not just talking about a few daily records falling here and there. We’re talking about a heat wave for the ages that could absolutely destroy all-time records from Washington to California as well as parts of Canada.”
“The Euro and GFS weather models, essentially the two gold standards for forecasters, are in agreement that the magnitude of this event will be extreme. While there are some slight differences of a few degrees up or down, the overall alignment is generally a sign something very rare and serious is about to go down. Among the more disturbing numbers coming out of the models are Portland cracking 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius), a threshold the city has never breached.”
Heat dome inflates over Western Canada, the harbinger of all-time warmth?
BY Tyler Hamilton, Meteorologist
Capital Weather Gang
Weather Service warns of ‘dangerous’ and ‘historic’ heat wave in Pacific Northwest
Seattle, Portland and Spokane could see temperatures near and above 100 degrees Sunday into early next week.