California has been making headlines for the resurgence of the Covid-19 virus. And for this year's wildfires that eclipse the devastating wildfires of previous years. And the heat, what about those heatwaves, huh? Brutal. And rolling power outages to keep the demand for air conditioning from overwhelming the grid.
It's time for another one of those horrible heatwaves. From the Washington Post:
With California’s second-, third- and fourth-largest wildfires on record still actively burning, a searing heat wave beginning Friday threatens to set back firefighting efforts, lead to potential rolling electricity service blackouts and smash all-time temperature records throughout the state. Heat warnings and advisories are also in effect for parts of Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.No respite from the cooling Pacific either. As the surface heats inland it is creating high pressure "heat domes." At the coast these create offshore winds that block cooler ocean air from coming onshore. It's like an invisible oven.
The heat wave is forecast to be even more intense than an extreme event in mid-August that played a key role in contributing to the massive blazes that have burned 1.5 million acres so far — raising a new term, the “gigafire” — concentrated around the San Francisco Bay area.
Studies show that human-caused climate change is tilting the odds in favor of more frequent, severe and longer lasting heat waves, as well as larger wildfires throughout large parts of the West. New research published last month, for example, shows climate change is tied to more frequent occurrences of extreme-fire-risk days in parts of California during the fall (meteorologists define the fall as beginning on Sept. 1).
Temperatures on Sunday are forecast to be about 20 degrees above average across the Los Angeles area, with temperatures reaching the triple digits all the way to the coast. Temperatures in the 100s will also encroach on San Francisco, with only minor relief from the typical cooling winds off the Pacific confined to areas right along the immediate shore.The photo above is from the NYT. It shows the beach at Santa Monica yesterday packed with people trying to escape the heat. It sure doesn't seem that social distancing is on anyone's mind. Madness ensues.
In Sacramento, the NWS is forecasting a high of 102 degrees on Saturday, and 110 on Sunday.
Further north, the weather service is hoping that offshore winds will bring a dense blanket of wildfire smoke over San Francisco to provide a little heat relief. Wildfire smoke. Loads of PM2.5 particulates.
PM2.5 enters the human lungs via respiration and adheres to the lung epithelium. Part of the PM2.5 inhaled cannot be removed by the lymphatic system and enters the blood circulation via diffusion. Then, the inhaled PM2.5 goes into the heart, kidneys, and other organs.Readers of this blog will be familiar with my conjecture, based on plentiful scientific studies and analyses, that this decade, the 2020s, will see many climate emergency impacts but extreme heating will likely be foremost. Fortunately Canadians enjoy a latitudinal buffer but we will have front row seats and it could be horrid.
As if they didn't already have enough problems, the world's poor will take it in the neck. A few weeks ago the New York Times published an interactive piece, Here's What Extreme Heat Looks Like: Profoundly Unequal. The world's poor are already beset by the pandemic, by food insecurity, a lack of reliable access to fresh water so essential for hydration, cooking and hygiene, and now inescapable extreme heat. Each of these threats compounds all the others.