US summer could be eight degrees warmer by 2100

U.S. cities could be an average of eight degrees warmer by 2100. In about 78 years, 247 U.S. cities could feel like an entire part of the country—or the world—found researchers at Climate Central, a non-profit for-profit organization that researches climate change.

The independent panel of scientists and communicators analyzed the changing climate and how it will affect people’s lives. They found that 16 US cities could see summer temperatures equivalent to the Middle East by 2100. Other cities could see temperatures mirroring locations 437 miles south of them.

Chicago is forecast to warm by 9.1 degrees Fahrenheit, feeling more like Montgomery, Alabama.

New York is projected to warm by 7.6 degrees, with summers expected to be more like Columbia, South Carolina.

Houston is forecast to warm by 6.4 degrees, feeling like Lahore, Pakistan, while Phoenix could rise 7.2 degrees, like Al Mubaraz, Saudi Arabia.

Mitchell, South Dakota, is projected to warm the most — by 11.1 degrees — and is expected to be more like Wichita Falls, Texas.

The hottest average temperatures of the summer days were analyzed. The researchers didn’t factor in humidity, which contributes to how uncomfortable summer heat can feel.

“The Earth is warming because the greenhouse gases we’ve emitted, mostly from burning fossil fuels, are collecting in our atmosphere and acting like a blanket, trapping heat,” Climate Central spokesman Peter Girard told CBS News via email. “The blanket gets denser and traps more heat as we add more pollution to it, which is why summer temperatures in cities around the U.S. have gone up. And they’ll continue to go up until we stop adding more pollution to that blanket that it traps heat.”

Extreme heat and longer heat waves can lead to illness or death, Climate Central says. With less cooling at night due to climate change, vulnerable people, the elderly, outdoor workers and people with chronic illnesses, may experience more heat stress.

“The summer heat will affect health. Working outside, playing sports and exercising or living without air conditioning will not only be uncomfortable, but also dangerous,” Girard said. “Millions of Americans are already adapting their lives to avoid the midday heat, and millions more are struggling to stay cool. These realities will become more common as summer temperatures rise.”

Extreme heat can lead to higher risks of heatstroke, extreme heat makes air quality worse — especially in cities, Girard added

But climate change doesn’t just affect health. It can worsen air quality and pollution, lead to more fires, floods and sea level rise, and worsen allergies, Climate Central says, among other things. It can also have an impact on mental health as a warming climate can lead to more catastrophic weather events, from which it is difficult to recover physically and mentally.

Solutions to climate change can also positively impact human health. Climate Central suggests planting trees, which reduce carbon dioxide and clean the air, driving an electric car, which reduces emissions and improves air quality. and composting, which also reduces carbon dioxide and improves soil and crop health.

Girard says that as long as pollution accumulates in our atmosphere, temperatures will continue to rise. But climate change is about more than extreme heat.

“This analysis did not explore other impacts of climate change, but heavier rainfall is another impact that American cities are already seeing,” he said. “Because a warming atmosphere can hold more moisture, many places face heavier rainfall — and higher risks of flash flooding — than 50 years ago.”

And for most Americans, winter warming, too. “This hurts winter sports and local economies, but the rise of winters also disrupts the growing season and puts pressure on some crops – especially fruit trees – and widens the range of common allergens and pests like mosquitoes and ticks,” he said.

Cities across the US and Europe have experienced several heat waves this summer. On July, they saw some US cities triple digit temperatures and warnings of increased fire conditions and heat illness. In the same month, Britain recorded its first ever temperature above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Wednesday, CBS Boston meteorologist and executive weather producer Terry Eliasen said more extreme heat was expected in the region, just over a week after experiencing a seven-day heatwave.

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