Temperatures have already risen sharply in the US this summer. A third of the population had to deal with measures or heat advisories, and the mercury sometimes soared above 46 degrees Celsius in the center of the country. The country is also mourning Worst drought in 1,200 years.
But according to Climate Central, a US organization that studies climate change, the results are still in sight. By 2100, summers in 16 U.S. cities will begin to resemble their counterparts in the Middle East. For example, heat waves in Phoenix resemble those in Saudi Arabia, Las Vegas in Kuwait, and summers in Austin resemble those in Dubai. In the hottest city – Yuma, Arizona – temperatures will rise to 44 degrees Celsius within 80 years, comparable to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.
Northern parts of the US like Boston and Washington DC – and therefore traditionally cooler – summers will resemble the summers the southern parts of the country are currently struggling with.
This new climate is entirely due to global warming and associated longer and more intense heat waves. “These kinds of high temperatures are becoming normal,” said Peter Girard, a spokesman for the Climate Center. “It can quickly go from uncomfortable to dangerous.”
Fortunately, there is a big ‘but’. In its analysis, the Climate Center assumes global temperatures will increase by 3.6 degrees Celsius by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels. That is if greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically reduced within 80 years. Many analysts doubt it will come, as many efforts are already underway worldwide to integrate renewable energy into society.
“Regardless of the situation, short-term heat waves will be a challenge almost everywhere,” Girard said. “Cutting emissions will slow the rise in temperatures and give governments and cities more time to take action to keep people safe.”
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