The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Expect an 'Angry Summer' of More Wildfires, Drought and Extreme Heat
The recent rash of deadly wildfires and record breaking high temperatures across the western U.S. indicates the country may be in the grips of an "angry summer" made worse by climate change.
July 2013 began with much of the western portion of the U.S. experiencing one of the most extreme heat waves on record in the region. During the days between June 24 and 29, there were 46 monthly high-temperature records set or tied in the U.S., along with 21 records for the highest overnight minimum temperature.
The heat in Death Valley has spiked to 129 degrees Fahrenheit, and many are watching to see if Death Valley’s record 134 degrees Fahrenheit temperature—the highest ever recorded on Earth—could be broken in the coming week. Temperatures hit above 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Salt Lake City, UT; Phoenix, AZ; Las Vegas, NV, and several southern Californian cities.
A fire of that size and intensity, taking place during an escalating heat wave and a long-running drought, is increasingly common.
Tom Boatner, chief of fire operations for the federal government, said in an interview with 60 Minutes:
"You won’t find any [climate deniers] on the firelines of the American West anymore. We have had climate change beaten into us over the last 10 or 15 years. We know what we are seeing and we are dealing with a period of climate in terms of temperature, humidity and drought that is different from anything people have seen in their lifetimes."
The Southwest is facing first-hand the role of climate change in increasing wildfires, droughts and extreme heat. The region is trending towards drier and warmer conditions in recent years, consistent with climate change projections that show that the region will experience more days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and increased drought due in large part to global warming.
This deadly summer weather comes just months after similar extreme heat, drought and storm events, intensified by climate change, wreaked havoc in Australia and prompted the season to be called the "Angry Summer."
If the beginning of the 2013 summer in the U.S. is any indication, the "Angry Summer" that ravaged Australia is turning into an "Angry Year" of weather around the world.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
WHAT KIND OF EXTREME WEATHER PATTERNS (IF ANY) HAVE YOU NOTICED IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The mounting climate emergency may spur the next global financial crisis and the world's central banks are woefully ill equipped to handle the consequences, according to a new book-length report by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), as S&P Global reported. Located in Basel, Switzerland, the BIS is an umbrella organization for the world's central banks.
Richard Hamilton Smith / Corbis NX / Getty Images
By Susan Cosier
Come February in Wisconsin, almost everything will be covered in ice and snow. In little shanties on frozen Lake Winnebago, a 30-by-13-mile lake in the eastern part of the state, fishers will keep watch over rectangular holes cut into the ice with a chainsaw. When they spot a fin passing below, they'll jab their spears down deep. The lucky ones will earn themselves a lake sturgeon, a species that has prowled the earth's waters for more than 150 million years.
Grecia Elenes grew up in Fresno, California. She says some parts of the city have been neglected for decades. When she moved back after college she realized nothing has changed.
Three U.S. firefighters gave their lives battling Australia's historic wildfires Thursday when their airborne water tanker crashed.