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80% of Americans were hit by extreme heat last year

Katherine Morgan drinks water in front of a ventilator trying to keep her downtown apartment cool without air conditioning on Thursday, August 12, 2021, in Portland, Oregon.

Katherine Morgan drinks water in front of a ventilator trying to keep her downtown apartment cool without air conditioning on Thursday, Aug 12, 2021 in Portland, Oregon.
Photo: Nathan Howard (AP)

For most people living in the United States, last summer was unbearably hot in a new way – and new statistics on last year’s heat support it. According to federal data analyzed by Washington Post this week, 80% of Americans live in a county with at least one day of “abnormally high” temperatures in 2021.

The statistics are pretty shocking, but they are also in line with what the climate crisis has in store for us. And when you look back at 2021, it becomes clear that endless heat seemed to hit everywhere, including in places not used to such extreme temperatures

Pacific northwest channel deadliest heat shock. There were several record Heat waves, including one in late June – early July, killed hundreds of people in the region (and literally melted infrastructure). Portland, Oregon, saw at least six days last summer where the temperature has reached or exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius); in a typical year, the city sees only one.

But it was also unsafe in other places. At one point in late July, 81 million Americans were under guard warnings as the searing temperatures reach in almost all parts of the country except for New England and the Great Lakes. In New York City, the townspeople were informed in June to maintain its power as the region has 100 registereddegree-Fahrenheit (38-degree-Celsius) heat; The California Death Valley recorded a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Fahrenheit) in July. degrees Celcius), literal planetary record

Last year the heat damaged crops of wheat in the Midwest, stripped of the legendary California glaciers they need snow to survive, cooked live mussels in the Pacific Northwest, caused “Ice earthquake” in Alaska, helped exacerbate the growing water crisis in the West and made it strange lesions and fungus grown on salmon in Washington DC. The heat in the United States in 2021 broke the long-term record for the hottest summer, which was set in 1936 in dust collector height

Even the end of summer and the arrival of “cooler” seasons did not bring relief: December 2021 was the most successful one. hottest December on record in the United States by a wide margin. In Kodiak City, Alaska, temperatures have reached 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) at the end of December– a temperature that completely erased the previous December record by 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11.1 degrees Fahrenheit), and also broke the records set in November, January, February, and March.

This is a long list to highlight how extensive and prolonged the heatwave was in the past year. Burning fossil fuels has become secondary temperatures, ensuring that when weather conditions tune in to the heat wave, they have an extra boost that can be dangerous and even fatal. Research has shown that in poorer areas, temperatures can reach 7 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) hotter than the more affluent. The risk that real life presents this summer; people who suffered and died in the Pacific Northwest, heatwaves were overwhelmingly homeless people, the elderly and those without access to permanent air conditioning.

This indicates an urgent the need to adapt to the heat, even as we work to reduce emissions. Because if you think last year was bad everything will only get worse if fossil the use of fuel does not stop.

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