BBC: Number of ‘Extremely Hot Days’ Each Year Is Rising

A BBC report found that the number of days with temperatures that surpass 50 ºC has nearly doubled in the past 40 years.

Bronx, New York
By Paolo DeAndreis
Sep. 20, 2021 11:14 UTC
Bronx, New York

A grow­ing num­ber of loca­tions through­out the world are expe­ri­enc­ing tem­per­a­tures higher than 50 ºC, accord­ing to a BBC analy­sis.

The heat­waves, which affect human and ani­mal health, are hap­pen­ing increas­ingly often, the BBC said.

We need to act quickly. The faster we cut our emis­sions, the bet­ter off we’ll all be.- Sihan Li, cli­mate researcher, University of Oxford

In the 1980s, sci­en­tists had found that extremely hot days, with tem­per­a­tures exceed­ing 50 ºC, were unevenly expe­ri­enced by a num­ber of loca­tions – 200 at most.

However, since the 2000s, this num­ber has rapidly increased, ris­ing to some­where between 220 and 480. These loca­tions also expe­ri­ence dou­ble the num­ber of extremely hot days com­pared with 40 years ago.

See Also:Climate Change Coverage

The total num­ber of days above 50 ºC has increased in each decade since 1980,” the BBC said. On aver­age, between 1980 and 2009, tem­per­a­tures passed 50 °C about 14 days a year. The num­ber rose to 26 days a year between 2010 and 2019. In the same period, tem­per­a­tures of 45 °C and above occurred on aver­age an extra two weeks a year.”

2021 has seen a few heat records already bro­ken, with south­west­ern Canada record­ing a record-high 49.6 ºC. Meanwhile, Siracusa, Sicily, expe­ri­enced its own unprece­dented heat this sum­mer, reach­ing 48.8 ºC.

On top of that, many of the world’s bro­ken heat records had only been set in 2020. According to data pub­lished by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, 2020 was 0.6 ºC warmer than the stan­dard 1981 to 2010 ref­er­ence point and 1.25 ºC above pre-indus­trial lev­els.

While announc­ing the lat­est United Nations report on cli­mate change last month, the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said the evi­dence is irrefutable: green­house gas emis­sions are chok­ing our planet and plac­ing bil­lions of peo­ple in dan­ger. Global heat­ing is affect­ing every region on Earth.”

We need to act quickly,” Sihan Li, a cli­mate researcher at the University of Oxford, told the BBC. The faster we cut our emis­sions, the bet­ter off we’ll all be.”

With con­tin­ued emis­sions and lack of action, not only will these extreme heat events become more severe and more fre­quent, but emer­gency response and recov­ery will become more chal­leng­ing,” she added.

See Also:Editors from 200 Health Journals Warn Climate Change Is Creating Global Health Crises

Currently, 300 mil­lion peo­ple live under heat stress con­di­tions, accord­ing to a Rutgers University report cited by the BBC. The researchers believe that should pro­tec­tive mea­sures and cur­tail­ing strate­gies not be enforced, in 2100 more than 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple could live their lives under a heat stress cap.

The ris­ing tem­per­a­tures are chang­ing peo­ples’ lives, alter­ing the land­scape with wild­fires, con­tribut­ing to deser­ti­fi­ca­tion and harm­ing farm­ing oper­a­tions world­wide.

However, this is push­ing sci­en­tific research toward devel­op­ing new cop­ing strate­gies, one of which directly involves the olive tree. The Mediterranean basin, to which the olive tree is endemic, is set to undergo sig­nif­i­cant changes in the next decades as tem­per­a­tures in the Mediterranean basin are pre­dicted to rise more quickly than the rest of the world.

A recent study pub­lished by Israel’s Agricultural Research Organization con­firmed that ris­ing tem­per­a­tures affect the olive pro­duc­tion cycle and olive oil qual­ity.

The researchers said to adapt to grow­ing unpre­dictable sea­sons and to extreme weather events, new agro­nom­ics solu­tions will have to be deployed. They added fur­ther research must be done to iden­tify olive cul­ti­vars with higher resilience to heat.

Living at 50 °C has impli­ca­tions that have yet to be fully inves­ti­gated, the BBC con­cluded. The United Kingdom’s national broad­caster announced a new doc­u­men­tary series that will explore the most affected loca­tions and how local res­i­dents are cop­ing.

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