Happy Meteorological Summer!
After a cool spring, welcome to this year's first round of heat in the Northeast. It may have taken a while to arrive, but in a warming world, we are going to see more frequent and intense heat waves that stretch over a longer period of time.
Heat is the number one weather-related killer. The first heat wave of the season hits the body hard because it takes time to get acclimated to the rise in temperatures. Then, when temperatures don't drop off much at night, it doesn't give the body an opportunity to recover. Another heat related health issue is air quality. As ozone levels continue to rise from greenhouse gas emissions, so do our number of days with poor air quality. This is particularly dangerous to the elderly, children and asthmatics.
Of all weather and climate extremes, heat waves are among the most well-understood consequences of global warming. Studies have shown that global warming made the deadly 2003 European heat wave more likely to occur, as well as the record-shattering 2010 Russian heat wave.
In this alert, we charted the rise in number of days with 90 degrees or higher for the Washington area. It's a graphic that can add another element to your broadcast this week, while being used again later this summer - when we get into additional rounds of even more intense heat. We also included 2 interactive links for your social media use. When you drag your mouse over each dot, it will give the specific number of 90 degree days or higher for that exact year.