We all feel like this summer is hot & miserable, but according to Doyle Rice at USA today, we should probably brace ourselves, and get used to it…
This summer’s stifling, deadly heat along the Eastern Seaboard and Deep South could be a preview of summers to come over the next few decades, according to a report about global warming to be published Wednesday by the National Wildlife Federation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In fact, according to NWF climate scientist Amanda Staudt, the summer of 2010 might actually be considered mild compared with the typical summers in the future. “We all think this summer is miserable, but it’s nothing compared to what’s in store for us,” she says.
“Most locations have had about twice as many days with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees than they typically would by the end of July,” the NWF report states about this summer’s heat. “For example, Washington, D.C., had 39 days with temperatures in the 90s by July 31, compared to 18 days for an average year.”
Additional heat waves will be especially dangerous for vulnerable populations, Staudt says. “Air pollution in urban areas could get worse, bringing increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks. Children, the elderly, poor and people of color are especially vulnerable to these effects.”
The report states that global warming could increase asthma-triggering ground-level ozone by 10 parts per billion or more during heat waves by 2050 in the Midwest and Northeast. “For a city like Washington, D.C., that means about 42 excess deaths for each day that there is elevated ozone,” the report notes.
Now, about 4,000 to 5,000 Americans die each year because of asthma, says Mike Tringale of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.