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?
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.
- 10 Little-Known Shark Facts - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›