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A thermometer on the street reads 38°C (100°F) during a heat wave in Seoul, South Korea on July 24, 2021. Simon Shin / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

A new study has found that as climate warming increases overnight temperatures, these hotter nights could increase mortality risks by as much as 60%. That’s because the higher temperatures interrupt sleep and make it harder for the body to cool down at the end of the day. These sleep disruptions could lead to immune system damage, higher risk of heart disease, cognitive damage and more.

The study authors examined historical mortality data, including 9,185,598 deaths, for 28 cities across Japan, South Korea and China from 1981 to 2010. They also calculated the excess sum of high temperatures overnight, representing this extreme heat as hot night excess (HNE).

A new study has found that as climate warming increases overnight temperatures, these hotter nights could increase mortality risks by as much as 60%. That’s because the higher temperatures interrupt sleep and make it harder for the body to cool down at the end of the day. These sleep disruptions could lead to immune system damage, higher risk of heart disease, cognitive damage and more.

The study authors examined historical mortality data, including 9,185,598 deaths, for 28 cities across Japan, South Korea and China from 1981 to 2010. They also calculated the excess sum of high temperatures overnight, representing this extreme heat as hot night excess (HNE).

Looking back, the research team found that relative mortality risk on high temperature nights was as much as 50% higher than nights that were not hot. For the future, the study authors noted that the frequency of hot nights may increase over 30% and grow more intense by as much as 50% by 2100, even with tighter regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. Disease burden could increase by up to six times from the 2010s to the 2090s, according to the study.

“To combat the health risk raised by the temperature increases from climate change, we should design efficient ways to help people adapt,” said Dr. Haidong Kan, study author and a professor at China’s Fudan University. “Locally, heat during the night should be taken into account when designing the future heatwave warning system, especially for vulnerable populations and low-income communities who may not be able to afford the additional expense of air conditioning.”

The study also noted that climate change could have other impacts on human health as well. Extreme heat events in general, not just overnight, could increase risks of mortality along with risks of various diseases, including heart disease and other cardiovascular events, kidney disorders and psychiatric illnesses, according to the authors.

“Based on well documented epidemiological findings on daily high temperatures or heatwaves, most studies to date have projected an increase in heat-related disease burden under various climate change scenarios,” the study stated.

The authors included policy suggestions in relation to their findings, which were published in The Lancet Planetary Health. They noted that overnight temperatures should be considered when designing extreme heat warning systems and said this could require more people to rely on air conditioning overnight, although higher AC use can further exacerbate climate warming. The authors also shared that the findings show that improved public health policies, particularly for low-income communities, are necessary to create better indoor comfort and safety for people who need relief from the heat. And in general, they explained that there should be better plans to mitigate warming in the first place.

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A malnourished beluga whale that swam up France's River Seine is watched by environmental group Sea Shepherd on Aug. 8, 2022. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP via Getty Images

Experts in France are trying to find a way to quickly save a beluga whale that is starving and stuck in the Seine River. Feeding attempts have been largely unsuccessful but will continue alongside efforts to move the whale out of the river into a saltwater river basin near the sea for monitoring.

Beluga whales live in the Arctic Ocean in much colder waters. But this whale was first found in the Seine last week in the river portion between Paris and Rouen. The whale has so far refused to eat, despite being offered a variety of food such as live trout, squid, and dead herrings. 

Experts in France are trying to find a way to quickly save a beluga whale that is starving and stuck in the Seine River. Feeding attempts have been largely unsuccessful but will continue alongside efforts to move the whale out of the river into a saltwater river basin near the sea for monitoring.

Beluga whales live in the Arctic Ocean in much colder waters. But this whale was first found in the Seine last week in the river portion between Paris and Rouen. The whale has so far refused to eat, despite being offered a variety of food such as live trout, squid, and dead herrings. 

Veterinarians have also tended to the whale, giving it vitamins and other products in hopes of stimulating its appetite and improving its health.

“The beluga still doesn’t eat but continues to show curiosity,” marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd France tweeted, as reported by Associated Press. With the beluga alert and still moving in the waters, euthenasia has been ruled out so far. But staying in these warm waters for too long put the whale in danger. The whale is also at a high risk of starving to death in the river.

In a new statement released from Sea Shepherd France, the organization explained that aside from being 150 kilometers from the estuary, the whale is moving closer toward Paris rather than the sea and is extremely thin and weak from a lack of food. Moving it would be extremely stressful, leaving the animal’s life at risk. Putting the whale to sleep temporarily for relocation could also kill it, as Sea Shepherd France explained this animal has conscious breathing.

The organization also noted that it consulted with beluga whale experts who examined footage of the animal in the Seine and explained it was still premature to euthanize it.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), beluga whales are social creatures that are near threatened. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explained that these whales face many threats, including pollution, habitat degradation, interactions with fisheries or oil and gas drilling operations, and other human activities. 

Today, Sea Shepherd France reported one final effort to save the whale will be made. The plan is to carefully move the whale to a saltwater river basin near the sea, as Reuters reported. Medical treatments have slightly helped the whale’s health, making relocation more feasible.

“Moving it to a salt water pool will allow us to monitor it better and try and treat it,” Lamya Essemlali, president of Sea Shepherd France, told Reuters. “That’s what really matters: determine if it can be cured from what it is suffering from. It’s a necessary step before releasing it into the sea.”

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The Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell in Page, Arizona on March 28, 2022. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A new report from Utah Rivers Council, the Glen Canyon Institute and the Great Water Basin Network is calling for government action to repair plumbing in the Glen Canyon Dam. Without action, the report warns that it could lead to parts of the Colorado River — namely, the iconic section that runs through the Grand Canyon — to dry up.

Glen Canyon Dam is located along the Colorado River and upriver of the Grand Canyon. The 50-year-old dam is also responsible for creating Lake Powell, which has water levels that recently fell to a record low and is only 46 feet away from being unable to produce hydropower. The minimum water level necessary is 3,490 feet, and the lake is now at 3,536 feet above sea level, just 25% of its capacity.

A new report from Utah Rivers Council, the Glen Canyon Institute and the Great Water Basin Network is calling for government action to repair plumbing in the Glen Canyon Dam. Without action, the report warns that it could lead to parts of the Colorado River — namely, the iconic section that runs through the Grand Canyon — to dry up.

Glen Canyon Dam is located along the Colorado River and upriver of the Grand Canyon. The 50-year-old dam is also responsible for creating Lake Powell, which has water levels that recently fell to a record low and is only 46 feet away from being unable to produce hydropower. The minimum water level necessary is 3,490 feet, and the lake is now at 3,536 feet above sea level, just 25% of its capacity.

With water levels low in the lake, Glen Canyon Dam cannot move water downriver, where it is supposed to flow through Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.

“This is because the hydropower penstocks are the primary means of complying with the water delivery obligations of the 100-year-old Colorado River Compact, yet they will be unusable at just 45 feet below current water levels,” the report explained.

The report noted that the antique plumbing of the dam is part of the problem, with pipes that aren’t equipped for generating hydropower or effectively moving larger amounts of water. Without proper infrastructure, the dam may impact utility customers that depend on the hydropower for electricity. 

Further, the low water levels could impact farmers who rely on water for irrigation and may even leave many municipalities around the southwestern U.S. and Mexico short on water supply. As reported by E&E News, if the water drops below levels required to generate hydropower, the dam could release a maximum of 3.5 million acre-feet of water. The 1922 Colorado River Compact divides the river resources among seven states, with each supposed to receive 7.5 million acre-feet of water based on a 16-million-acre-foot river. Current estimates say the river could be just around 11 million acre-feet.

The report authors are urging the federal government to fund a redesign and construction for a retrofit of the dam in order to “avoid a water delivery crisis.” They request urgent action, as they estimate the dam could stop moving water as soon as 2025 without improvements.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation said there is now $2 million to go toward studying ways for the dam to deliver more water and power.

“For the sake of our future, the time to act is now,” the report concluded.

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