Are USA Southern States Prone to More Heat Waves Because of Climate Change?

Climate change is a reality that we have to adjust to, affecting the entirety of the globe and resulting to wildly unpredictable weather patterns. One of the most obvious symptoms related to climate change is the higher frequency and greater severity of heat waves that can dominate the summer months and lead even to deaths due to heat-related issues.

This growing problem will dominate much of the USA, but the southern States might be some of the most directly affected, having already a climate which favors droughts and such heat related phenomena. Especially Texas and Florida are the two States that are already notorious for their very high average temperatures all around the year, while the entirety of the Southern States have a very high average humidity, which only amplifies the already dire temperature problem.

The raise in temperatures is becoming a reality for much of the South, where recently there have been unusually high and frequent heat waves, while it is predicted that in the next years it will only get even worse. As noted by the globalchange.gov, the frequency of heat waves has increased between 2-6 more times per year since the 1960's, especially so in cities of the South, where there have been noted up to 8 more heatwaves every year compared to the 60's. At the same time there has been also a noted increase in the overall length of the yearly heatwave season, which is now 40 - 80 days longer in the Southern States compared to its range just 50 years ago. This combination of prolonged and more frequent heat waves is especially noted in the urban areas, where there is much more concentrated heat release due to buildings, heavy industry, high concentration of vehicles and bad air circulation.

The abovementioned factors lead to numerous temperature-related records all around the South being challenged every year and many broken, since there is a constant and notable temperature rise every year which also raises fears about a grim future. Many cities like Dallas, Austin, Miami and Atlanta will experience an increase by around 4 degree F in the average high summer temperature in the next decades, increasing exponentially the risk of heat-related issues. An increase of 4 degrees might not sound like a lot initially, but it has to be noted that this is a temperature average, making it clear that the absolute high temperatures within the day might be much higher and thus much more dangerous to the people affected.

The heatwave phenomenon is multifaceted problem which will affect not only the people of the South, but also the local ecosystem due to an overall increase of droughts and wildfires that will be dangerous for people and wildlife alike. At the same time, livestock will suffer, being very susceptible to death due to heat-related issues.

All these factors indicate that we presently experience in the South a much more problematic situation compared to previous decades and a problem that will only get worse as the years pass. It is imperative to be educated about sun protection and learn how to protect yourself from these dangers and closely follow the directions of the National Weather Service in order to ensure your well-being during the ever-increasing heatwaves.