Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hot times in Phoenix


The last time the temperature dipped below 90 degrees in Phoenix was at 6 a.m. on Aug. 6. Two days later came the hottest day of the current heat wave — “I guess we can call it that,” Mr. Waters conceded — and the hottest Aug. 8 ever in Phoenix, when the high reached 116. (The record of 122 degrees was reached on June 26, 1990.)
As of Monday, the average August temperature was 100.2 degrees, or 6.2 degrees higher than normal, Mr. Waters said. By Tuesday, the temperature had reached 110 degrees for nine consecutive days; last year, the longest stretch where temperatures reached or surpassed 110 degrees was six days. Tuesday was also the 31st consecutive day the mercury hit 100 degrees (NYTimes).
People are dying in that heat; count on it. But it could be so much worse.

 Just eyeballing it, New Mexico looks to be +4C (+7.2 F) compared to the present. Imagine a similar heat wave, same distribution of temperatures, after +4C of warming. The highs hit 117 F, day after day, and for over a week, it never dropped below 97 F.

But wait, it gets worse:
The urban climate will probably continue to warm as the population of the region increases. Using a projection of regional climate change for the SW US (Sprigg and Hinkley [18]), estimates of Phoenix growth rates (GPRA [19]), and empirical relationship between population and magnitude of urban warming (e.g., Oke [20]), Brazel [21] determined that urban dwellers may experience a further rise in annual mean temperatures of 1.7 to 2.5 ( Environmental consequences of rapid urbanization in warm, arid lands: case study of Phoenix, Arizona" (registration required)).
 So we set our scene in Phoenix proper, in the year 2100 (4C + 2.1C = 6.1C = 11 F). Same distribution as today (although the extremes could actually become worse as the Arctic melts):
The last time the temperature dipped below 90 degrees 101 degrees in Phoenix was at 6 a.m. on Aug. 6. Two days later came the hottest day of the current heat wave — “I guess we can call it that,” Mr. Waters conceded — and the hottest Aug. 8 ever in Phoenix, when the high reached 116 127. . . . As of Monday, the average August temperature was 100.2 degrees  111.2 degrees, or 6.2 degrees higher than normal, Mr. Waters said. By Tuesday, the temperature had reached 110 degrees 121 degrees for nine consecutive days . . . Tuesday was also the 31st consecutive day the mercury hit 100 degrees 111 degrees.
 Imagine day after day in which temperatures never dropped below 100 degrees (even the 90 degrees beggars belief). The heat stress would be enormous. Outside of air conditioned environments, people would be severely limited in any activities. And some people would just drop dead:
Hyperthermia following heat stress results in profound brain edema formation and damage to the central nervous system (CNS). However, whether acute or chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, endocrine, or metabolic ailments further influence the vulnerability of human populations to heat-related deaths is still unclear. In this investigation, we examined the effect of hyperthermia on chronic hypertensive rats. The influence of growth hormone (GH) as a therapy to attenuate brain dysfunction was also evaluated. Subjecting rats to 4 h of heat stress at 38°C in a biological oxygen demand (BOD) incubator resulted in profound impairment of motor and cognitive functions, breakdown of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), reduction in regional cerebral blood flow (CBF), edema formation, and brain damage. These effects were further aggravated when chronic hypertensive rats (two-kidney, one-clip model for 4 weeks) were subjected to similar hyperthermic conditions (38°C for 4 h). Interestingly, the behavioral alterations and impairment of motor and cognitive functions in hypertensive rats were much worse than those in the normotensive animals subjected to heat stress.
Fortunately it's not as if Americans are going to be older and sicker in the future . . . [/sarc]

Explosive unplanned growth in the middle of a desert; rapid climate change; obesity and terrible preventative care. As an American, it sometimes seems as though our chickens, not being content with coming home to roost, are in the process of forming gigantic rabid flocks a la The Birds.

Uh, I thought you were going to cut our emissions. Did you at least start exercising and eating better?

2 comments:


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    write. I guess maybe I need to start doing homework haha!
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