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‘Extreme Health Belt’ Covers Mid-US By 2053: Report

Heat index, also known as apparent temperature, is how the outside temperature really feels to the human body when relative humidity is combined with air temperature.

An area of ​​intensely warm weather — a so-called “extreme heat belt” — with at least one day a year when the heat index reaches 125 Fahrenheit (52C) ​​is expected to cover a region in the US that is home to more than 100 million people. living by the year 2053, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by the nonprofit First Street Foundation, used a peer-reviewed model built with public and third-party data to estimate heat risk on what they termed a “hyperlocal” 30-square-foot scale.

First Street Foundation’s mission is to make climate risk modeling accessible to the public, government, and industry representatives such as real estate investors and insurers.

A key finding of the study was that heat exceeding the National Weather Service’s highest category threshold, called “Extreme Danger,” or above 125F, was expected to affect 8.1 million people by 2023 and grow to 107 million. people in 2053, a 13-fold increase.

This would encompass a geographic area stretching from northern Texas and Louisiana to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin — inland areas that are far removed from the more temperate weather often seen on the coast.

Heat index, also known as apparent temperature, is how the outside temperature really feels to the human body when relative humidity is combined with air temperature.

To create their model, the research team examined satellite-derived land surface temperatures and air temperatures between 2014 and 2020, to help understand the exact relationship between the two measurements.

This information was further examined by taking into account altitude, how water is absorbed into the area, distance from surface water and distance from a coast.

The model was then scaled to future climate conditions, using a “middle-of-the-road” scenario envisioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in which carbon dioxide levels will begin to decline by the middle of the century, but by 2100. not reach net zero.

Outside of “Extreme Danger” days, areas across the country are expected to experience higher temperatures, with varying degrees of resilience.

“These increases in local temperatures have significant impacts on communities unaccustomed to warmer weather compared to their normal climates,” the report said.

For example, a 10 percent rise in temperature in the northeastern state of Maine could be just as dangerous as a 10 percent rise in the southwestern state of Texas, despite the higher absolute temperatures in Texas.

The largest predicted shift in local temperature occurred in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where the highest temperature of 103 Fahrenheit is currently reached seven days a year. By 2053, that number is expected to increase to 34 days at 103 degrees.

And the increase in air conditioning use likely to result from such temperature spikes will strain energy networks, the report warned, leading to more frequent, longer-lasting outages.

Florida, Texas, Central US could see biggest increase in warm days, new modeling shows

© 2022 AFP

Quote: ‘Extreme health belt’ to cover US center by 2053: Report (2022, Aug. 16) retrieved Aug. 16, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-extreme-healt-belt-middle .html

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