Global heatwaves are becoming longer and more dangerous due to climate change and the El Niño climate pattern, potentially making 2023 the hottest year on record.
Heatwaves and Climate Change: Climate scientists link worsening heatwaves to climate change, noting an increased occurrence and intensity.
* Extreme heat records have been broken in Texas, Southern U.S., Mexico, India, China and Canada, regions grappling with widespread wildfires.
* According to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist, most of the world’s population has experienced record-breaking heat recently.
El Niño’s Influence: The El Niño climate pattern, characterized by warmer global temperatures, is amplifying this year’s heatwaves.
* El Niño begins with the warming of the ocean in the central and eastern Pacific, which in turn alters weather patterns and raises global temperatures.
* Based on current indications, climate experts predict a powerful El Niño this year, potentially leading to more global temperature records.
Heatwaves and Health Risks: Heatwaves, the deadliest weather-related disaster in the U.S., pose numerous health risks such as heat exhaustion, dehydration, heart attacks, and strokes.
* The risks associated with heatwaves are particularly high in lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color, which tend to experience higher temperatures than white neighborhoods.
* Issues such as high humidity can make heatwaves even more dangerous, particularly for outdoor workers and others exposed to the sun for extended periods.
Climate Predictions: Global heat events may become more prevalent if current rates of fossil fuel emissions continue.
* Even if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), extreme heatwaves are expected to be more than eight times more common than in the past.
* According to Swain, ongoing climate change due to human activities is the long-term driver of these events, with El Niño serving as an intensifier.
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