Summer 2021 has brought out record-breaking high temperatures across the world, due to arising global climate change. Heatwaves across the world are proving highly dangerous to all, even killing people with extreme heat.
Just last summer, the Health Ministry of the United Kingdom reported that there were approximately 2,556 deaths from excessive heat as temperatures reached as high as 37.8 degrees Celsius, another record-breaking temperature.
In the United States, different regions are being targeted by the heat waves. In the Pacific north-west, the heatwave has killed nearly 200 people so far. In southern California, the infamous Death Valley, which has average summer temperatures between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, just hit a temperature of 130 degrees, far above from what the normal human should encounter.
In accordance with the high temperatures, there has been an increase of wildfires on the West Coast. In towns between the border of Northern Nevada and California, people were evacuated out of the forests, in fear of lightning strikes that could spark yet another wildfire. BBC reported that one fire was able to quickly double its size and combined its smoke ash with the arid temperatures to make its own lightning, spreading the fire exponentially. Other states on the west are currently fighting fires as well, including Oregon, Idaho, and even Canada.
Officials have warned millions of citizens about heat waves, urging them to drink lots of water and to stay in cool places. Heat waves have proven fatal as too much exposure to heat can quickly lead to heat-related sicknesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Other sicknesses can include cold shock (when the body is suddenly submerged in cold water can shock the brain and your body to unresponsiveness), non-fatal drowning, and certain growths of bacteria. For example, Oregon reported that there was a sudden increase of hospitalizations from exposure to cyanobacteria as the bacteria was able to grow in an abnormal high temperature. In addition, dehydration is a common fault along with over-hydration.
Scientists have concluded that the main fault of these rapidly rising temperatures are from climate change, or the lack of preventing climate change. Heat Waves form in multiple ways but essentially occur when places of high pressure capture the heat which creates “heat domes”. Climate change comes into role as it amplifies the heat. So far, people have fallen sick to these heat waves but also an estimated 1 billion sea creatures have died from the heat. Gizmodo reported that reservoirs have decreased in volume and buildings have melted from these sudden deadly heat waves.
“Our background state is shifting,” Kathie Dello said on Twitter. “So when we talk of warming of a few degrees on average, we’re getting there by having more hot days. As we continue to add heat trapping gases to the atmosphere, we’re seeing just how sensitive the climate is and having unprecedented heat.”
Other experts have suggested that in order to counteract these heat waves, we must actively take responsibility and caution towards our daily contributions to climate change. This includes cutting emissions directly and also increasing cooling across targeted states in order to prevent more heat-ridden deaths.