Riverside, California 2021-10-10 08:00:19 –
Climate change has exacerbated the heat in Texas, with less mitigation as nighttime temperatures rise, according to a report from state climatologists released Thursday.
Climate data also show that the state is experiencing extreme rainfall-especially in eastern Texas-as the ocean rises along the Gulf and floods from hurricanes strengthened by warming oceans increase. , A larger storm surge will occur.
These trends are expected to accelerate over the next 15 years, according to a report last updated in 2019 that analyzes the state’s extreme weather risks. Part of the report was funded by Texas 2036, a non-partisan economic policy non-profit organization. The next 200th anniversary of the state.
The report found that the average annual temperature in Texas is expected to be three degrees higher by 2036 than the average in the 1950s. Especially in urban areas, 100 degree days are expected to almost double compared to 2000-2018.
“It’s very rare from now on to be as mild as the typical year of the 20th century,” said John Nielsen Gammon, a Texas climatologist who wrote the report. “Almost all of them get warm.”
Experts told the Texas Tribune that the hotter Texas would threaten public health, squeeze state water supplies, strain the power grid, and drive more species to extinction.
According to Nielsen-Gammon, meteorological data show that state-wide minimum temperatures have risen rapidly in recent years. Experts say the entire state temperature baseline is shifting upwards, and this trend is likely to continue to cause problems for the state’s aging infrastructure.
“I was surprised at how strong the upward trend was in the coldest summer temperatures,” said Nielsen Gammon. Global temperature analysis had already shown that trend, but he said it is now happening very clearly at the local level in Texas.
Although this year was considered a mild year, as temperatures never exceeded 100 degrees Celsius in much of Texas, Nielsen Gammon said nighttime temperatures made 2021 the top 20 hottest summer nights. He said it remained warm enough to fit in the%. On record.
Persistently high temperatures pose many public health problems. Heat stroke is becoming more common, and the number of days and hours you can work safely outdoors is decreasing each year. In the last decade, 53 workers in Texas have died from heat stroke, according to an NPR study. This is almost twice the number of workers who died 10 years ago.
Droughts are intensifying, putting even greater pressure on rivers and lakes in states that are already tense due to population growth. And pathogens can grow more easily and invade public water systems.
“If more parts of the state have lower reservoirs, less flow, and pulling from warmer water temperatures, there is real concern about which pathogen will eventually occur. [the water] “The system,” said Gabriel Collins, Bakerbots Fellow of Energy and Environmental Issues at Rice University.
In 2020, a brain-eating amoeba was found in the water supply at Lake Jackson, killing a 6-year-old child. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rising water temperatures caused by climate change can increase the prevalence of such aquatic amoebas.
The combination of higher heat and heavier precipitation in the eastern half of Texas also damages groundwater pipes by expanding and contracting the ground around them, Collins said. He said Texas is likely to have more frequent interruptions in water supply as the state warms.
Also, if Texas raises the air conditioner to keep it cool, it can strain the state’s power grid during extreme heat. At the same time, higher temperatures make it difficult for power plants to operate as efficiently as they normally would, reducing power supply and increasing the risk of power outages.
“Increased demand will increase the risk of outages,” said Juliana Ferkner, an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Texas, who conducts research focused on sustainable development and design. “Power plants need water to operate, so lack of water can reduce efficiency and generate less electricity.”
The state grid operator, the Texas Electric Reliability Council, has “widened the debate” about increasing the resilience of the grid, including extreme calculations of heat and drought in assessing potential power supply conditions this summer. I aimed to do that. After the February winter storm cut off power to millions of Texas people, the Texas utility commissioner overseeing the grid said the grid was in more extreme weather to improve its operation. I wondered if I could bear it.
The environment is also damaged by persistent high temperatures. Shay Wolf, director of climate science at the Center for Biodiversity, said more species are expected to become extinct. For example, many species of lizards are becoming extinct in the United States and around the world because they recede into the shade when it gets too hot and cannot find food. According to Wolf, each species plays an important role in the local ecosystem and is important not only for plants and animals, but also for human safety.
“When you destroy the web of life, it not only creates a lonely planet, but a more dangerous planet,” Wolf said.
According to a 2016 study by researchers at the University of Arizona, climate change is already widespread in local extinction, the disappearance of species in specific areas rather than in specific areas. Almost half of the approximately 1,000 species surveyed were locally extinct.
Texas citizens are an associate professor of engineering who is an infrastructure expert and an associate professor of engineering at Arizona State University’s infrastructure and sustainability, expecting that the heat generated by climate change will damage all aspects of public infrastructure. Mikhail Chester, director of the Metis Center for Engineering, said. The individual effects may seem small (here the boiling water is notified and the pipes are broken there), but the overall effect is a large public issue, he said.
“Climate change is changing everything slightly. It’s destroying infrastructure slightly and pushing us beyond what we designed,” Chester said. “When you add them all together, it’s monumental.”
Disclosure: Rice University, Texas 2036, University of Arizona is a financial supporter of Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan news organization partially funded by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in tribune journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
This article was originally published in the Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/10/07/texas-climate-change-heat-water/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-backed, nonpartisan newsroom that informs and engages Texas people about state politics and policy. For more information, please visit texastribune.org.
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