Symptoms of a Sick Climate

Credit: NOAA

Scientists around the world just gave Earth its yearly checkup and found that our climate’s fever, heavy sweating, and intense thirst have gotten worse.

According to the 26th Annual State of the Climate, a peer-reviewed report compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Earth broke one climate record after another in 2015. In fact, the report “confirmed that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the warmest year since at least the mid-to-late 19th century.” There were also record high carbon pollution levels. Record high sea surface temperatures. Record high sea levels.  And extremes in both flooding and drought.

Since most of the country just got through a crushing “heat dome” that toppled hundreds of daily high records, let’s zero in on one piece of the 2015 State of the Climate: extremely warm days. There were 1.8 times more extremely warm days in 2015 than the long-term average, with record-breaking numbers in parts of the western United States and Canada, southern Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. (“Extremely warm days” are defined as those warmer than 90 percent of daily maximum temperatures from 1961 to 1990.) As we’ve talked about before, extreme heat is a major health threat, killing and sickening thousands of people worldwide every year.   

To keep people healthy, we need to keep our climate healthy. Please take action now to help bring down Earth’s fever and protect future generations from dangerous heat. 

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