News

Environmental Report Predicts Global Warming Will Bring More Days of Extreme Heat

Multimedia

Elizabeth Lee

The U.S. space agency NASA says this year has been the warmest for the earth in 131 years. And a new study of hot weather in the U.S. released by the National Wildlife Federation predicts that extreme heat will be the norm by 2050. The private environmental organization says as the planet warms, there will also be heavier rainfall and drought around the globe.  But not all scientists agree on the impact of global warming or a solution to its effects.

From the record setting heat in Russia to the heavy rains in Pakistan and the devastating mudslides in rain soaked China, many climate scientists predict extreme weather will become more common as the earth gets warmer.

"As the planet warms the atmosphere can actually hold more water and so when it does rain, we're getting more heavy rainfall events and that's going to be really devastating," said climate scientist Amanda Staudt of the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation.  She co-authored the private organization's 2010 report on extreme heat in the U.S. She found many of the cities along the East Coast of the U.S., when compared to average temperatures, have twice as many days that have reached over 32 degrees Celsius.

She predicts this extreme heat will soon become the norm. "What surprised me was that 2010 may actually be considered a mild year in 2050, or at least an average or typical year, depending on the global warming pollution emissions that we have going forward," she said.

Staudt and many other scientists say pollution increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and that traps heat and causes global warming.

But climatologist Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute says that exaggerates the problem. "These cities are going to get, and have been getting, warmer with or without carbon dioxide going in the atmosphere," he said.

Michaels says the concrete and bricks in a city trap more heat than carbon dioxide.  He blames much of the extreme heat in the eastern U.S. this year to a weather cycle called La Nina.

Amanda Staudt says long term extreme weather can have negative impacts - health problems from more allergy causing plants - food shortages from crops under stress. This summer, severe drought and wildfires in Russia sharply reduced the world's wheat supply.  Staudt says a long term solution is to use other forms of energy. "We need to start moving away from a reliance on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas and transitioning our energy use on cleaner sources like solar and wind and looking for ways to be more efficient in our energy use," she said.

But Patrick Michaels says these are not realistic solutions. "Solar is wildly inefficient and has to be subsidized massively. Wind is never going to produce enough dense energy," he said.

Michaels says humans  have always adapted to changing environments, and will continue to do so. "This issue is no different than many of the other apocalyptic threats that have been brandished over society from time immemorial and for all of those other threats we adapted," he said.

Aside from the debate on climate change, scientists do agree, cities will continue to get hotter as they grow and add more buildings and roads.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs