Canada, like America (only a bit different), is heating up. Summer days are getting hotter. Summer nights are getting hotter still. Demands on power grids for air conditioning are soaring.
Climate Central has posted charts for major American cities that graphically depict what's going on across the States this year.
A ...way to measure the increase in heat is cooling degree days (CDD), which are used to determine how much cooling is needed to keep a building at a comfortable temperature. CDDs do not actually measure days at all. Rather, they measure the number of degrees that the daily average temperature is above 65°F. So if the average temperature for a day is 80°F, there were 15 CDDs in that day. Some of the largest increases in CDDs are also seen in the Southwest, however CDDs are increasing sharply in places that traditionally did not need air conditioning in the summer months. For example, the number of CDDs has nearly doubled in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon in the last half-century.Accompanying that is a chart depicting the change in demand for cooling.
Cooling costs are rising as a result. Air conditioning already makes up the largest share of residential electricity use (17 percent) in the U.S., with Americans spending over $27 billion to cool their homes in 2015. The average annual cost for homes with air conditioning across the U.S. is approximately $250, but in the high use areas of the South, air conditioning costs are almost $450 a year. A 2014 Climate Central analysis of projected future summer temperaturesshows that by 2100, New England summers will be as hot as current summers in Florida, dramatically increasing the need for artificial cooling.
Hotter days also increase the risk of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, and warming nights make it more difficult for the body to recover from the heat of the day. Heat waves are usually associated with stagnant air, which also increases air pollution and the vulnerability to respiratory illnesses such as asthma.You can see that the heating and cooling trend is going one way, sharply up.
The good news is that eastern Canada is in for a break, at least a couple of weeks reprieve from another heatwave. The American south probably won't be so lucky.