This year, we are yet again seeing extreme weather conditions throughout the globe. Here in the United States, most of our country is currently experiencing extreme heat conditions. This is not new, according to NOAA, Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 1880. 2022, was ranked as the fifth-warmest year on record. And in the last week alone, temperatures have soared. Death Valley recorded a 126-degree temperature on July 17th. Although this did not break the record for the area, that record is from July 10, 1913, at 134 degrees, other states in that region as well as southern states along the Gulf Coast are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures.
An El Niño weather pattern started taking form in the spring. With an El Niño, the waters of the Pacific increase which causes the jet stream to shift south. When this occurs, northern parts of the US and Canada generally experience warmer and drier conditions. Which takes us to what we often see, with extreme heat comes extreme drought. Extreme drought not only creates impacts to our food and water supply, but it also increases the chances of wildfires and dust storms which disrupts air quality.
There are things we can do to prepare for and protect ourselves during extreme heat and drought. We have put together these guides for you to reference:
Although our extreme weather can be due to naturally occurring weather patterns, many climate issues we are seeing today are also the cause of our own doing. The UN has created Actions for a Healthy Planet guide that provides things we can do each day to reduce our own footprint on earth. The changes we make can reduce our risks of extreme heat and drought. As Wendell Berry said, “The Earth is what we all have in common.”