It seems to be that thanks to climate change, record temperatures are the new summer norm. There are some crazy people in Death Valley that apparently either do not understand or do not care that running in 129 degrees can actually kill you. Last year a heat wave on the east coast was blamed for 82 deaths, and an average of 400 people die in the United States each year from extreme heat exposure.
Yet, there are pictures across social media platforms of people taking pictures of themselves with thermometers. As if we can’t just Google it if we want to know how hot it is in the desert of California. The temperature recorded on Sunday was the hottest day in June in the history of the United States. This heat is not a joke.
Granted, Death Valley has a history of being the hottest spot in the world, but compared to the record set 100 years ago, modern civilization has complicated the climate with cars, fumes and heat absorbing concrete. People are reporting melted tennis shoes from walking outside. Flights in Arizona and Nevada have had to be cancelled, as planes are clear to take off only in temperatures up to 118 degrees. Heat advisories are issued all over the Southwest Region of the United States. People are being asked to carry extra water at all times and prepare for survival if you have any chance of getting stuck outside.
Four of the last ten years have been the hottest in recorded history, according to a recent meteorological study at Harvard University. Climate scientists urge people not to point the finger immediately at man-made climate change as the data is not comprehensive enough to measure the effects of the phenomena. However, they do warn that there is a trend of more heat waves and less cold ones.