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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs