By Kean Huy Alado
This summer's recent high temperatures indicate the effect humanity has had on climate. July was reported as a record-breaking month for scorching global temperatures, with America displaying severe consequences of climate change, according to the North American Space Association (NASA).
Compared to all July global temperature records since 1880, NASA declared this July exhibited the highest temperature ever. Even when compared to other months in their records, it remains the hottest month ever recorded. This temperature was warmer than the July averages between the years 1951-1980 by 2.12°F. Moreover, the last five Julys have been the hottest five Julys on NASA’s record.
This significant increase in temperature demonstrates the long-term pattern and consequences of human-induced climate change from greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change has been a rapidly increasing threat as it has been correlated to human industrialization and societal developments. These movements have released substantial and increasingly alarming quantities of methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor into the air that create a blanket over the atmosphere, retaining heat over the Earth’s surface. Over time, this accumulation of heat retention leads to these higher global temperatures each summer. Humanity continues to industrialize which in turn leads to a greater effect of greenhouse emissions. Therefore, this demonstration of scorching heats globally and that of the U.S.A. has been a comeuppance that was bound to occur from unchanged rates.
The most affected regions included the southern states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona that border Mexico. All except Arizona reached their previous all-time high temperatures during July. Phoenix established the longest time without falling below 90°F and a nighttime high of 97°F during the month.
Sophomore physiology major, Michael Fonseca, expressed his disdain for the rising temperatures and its effect on his work experience in July as a beach volleyball instructor.
“Due to having my job outside, it was very exhausting and hard to work outside for a long period of time without being dehydrated or drained,” he said.
Fonseca’s sentiment is shared widely with other students and the wider South Florida community where lifestyles are outdoors for the most part. The higher heat wreaks havoc on the environment and efficacy of the U.S. population in this way.
These heatwaves also pose health hazards to some. The United States has experienced at least 100 heat-related deaths on the Mexican border from incoming migrants this year. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens reported that within the first week of July, “Our men & women made 226 heat-related rescues & unfortunately recovered 13 dead migrants.” Moreover, in New Orleans, 10 deaths were recorded in July from extreme heat.
Some ways you can mitigate consequences of rising temperatures and prevent health issues from climate change include:
1. Staying indoors with air conditioning during peak temperatures, monitoring the weather
2. Carrying an insulating water bottle to keep you and your water cool
3. Wearing light colors to reflect the sun’s wavelengths instead of absorbing it
4. Choosing loose and lightweight natural materials to increase airflow, reducing heat retention
5. Keeping curtains drawn to protect your cool area from the sun
6. Opening windows to invite a breeze to ventilate cooler air
7. Placing your feet in cold water
8. Taking cold showers
9. Eating colder meals, like salads, wraps and cold soba noodles
10. Cutting down on any exercise in high heat to not overexert your energy
Using these tips will reduce heat-related illnesses and any injuries from heatstroke, sunburn and heat exhaustion. Those most at risk are the elderly, infants, pregnant women, individuals with chronic diseases and outdoor workers like Fonseca.
Aside from avoiding health problems, reducing your carbon footprint and contributions to greenhouse gas emissions is important. As a community, utilizing solar, hydro or geothermal power can help future generations. But individually, efforts as small as turning off all lights when not in the room can help.