Adapting to New Normals: The Heat’s On

Program Summary

Scorching heat continues to smash records in many parts of the country. In Austin, Texas, triple-digit temperatures are causing unprecedented demands on power grids.  Oklahoma City is on track to eclipse the record number of 100-degree days in a year, and these high temperatures are only making existing drought conditions worse.

The suffocating heat comes on the heels of the government’s release of the new climate “normals.” Every 10 years, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calculate the averages for temperature and precipitation from thousands of U.S. locations. These new normals not only provide a glimpse of what’s happening with the climate, but also serve as indicators of how a changing climate may affect everything from energy bills to crops and insurance premiums.

As Dr. Heidi Cullen reports, one city in the Mid-Atlantic already is taking the new normals into consideration as it plans for weather extremes.