Within thirty years there will be a “heat belt” in the United States, stretching from Louisiana in the south to Lake Michigan in the north, through the Midwest. That’s clear from a report released Monday by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit that maps climate risks. More than 107 million Americans live in this zone, which covers a quarter of the country.
The tropics will have at least one day per year with extreme heat up to 51°C in 2053. Today it is already in 50 US counties. About 8 million people are affected. Within thirty years it would grow to over 1,000 counties in the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and southern Wisconsin. The Midwest is reportedly the most vulnerable because it is far from the ocean. However, smaller areas on the East Coast and Southern California are also experiencing difficulties. About 107 million people will be affected by extreme temperatures.
The nonprofit First Street Foundation based its projections on a moderate scenario from United Nations (IPCC) climate experts, in which greenhouse gas emissions peak in the 2040s and then decline again. Heat causes more deaths in the U.S. than floods or hurricanes. Heat can cause problems, especially in areas that are not suited to strong heat, such as the northern part of the United States.
In addition to extreme temperatures, the study found that the U.S. as a whole will warm even more in the coming years. The nonprofit organization analyzed local temperatures expected for the seven hottest days in 2023, then looked at how many of those days there would be in 2053. It averaged more than eighteen or eleven hot days.
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