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Reply #8: it's usually not... Hot Nights and High Humidity Set This Heat Wave Apart [View All]

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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-11 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. it's usually not... Hot Nights and High Humidity Set This Heat Wave Apart
By Andrew Freedman

My colleague Heidi Cullen has an excellent op-ed in the New York Times today on the current heat wave, and the shifting notion of what constitutes a "normal climate" as average global temperatures continue to warm. She didn't have room for details on the heat wave in that story, but it's worth doing so here given its important lessons for climate change adaptation efforts, particularly concerning public health and infrastructure.

The heat wave that is currently roasting much of the United States stands out from typical summertime heat events that we expect to occur during July and August. First of all, the hot weather, which is associated with a sprawling area of high pressure, covers a huge expanse. Today, for example, at least 141 million people under heat advisories or warnings, according to a tweet from NOAA spokesman Justin Kenney (see video below).

Second, the heat wave has featured an extraordinary combination of high temperatures and humidity. In combination, these are known as the heat index, and during this heat wave the heat indices have shot up to levels more commonly seen in the brutally hot and humid region near the Red Sea, rather than in Minnesota and South Dakota. As meteorologist Paul Douglas reported on his Minneapolies Star Tribune blog, the heat index in Moorhead, Minn. hit a whopping 134F yesterday, likely setting a new record for the highest heat index ever reported in Minnesota. The Twin Cities also tied its all-time heat index record, at 119F.

much more
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