The heat is on this summer as sweltering temperatures are felt throughout the U.S., all thanks to the “tipping point”— a warning once echoed in the 2015 Paris accord.
The “tipping point,” a 2 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels that was forewarned in 2015, has arrived and hit the U.S. with extreme climate change, leaving 34 million people living in areas that are rapidly heating.
The fastest state to experience such extreme warming is Alaska, a state where summer temperatures generally range from 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, has seen a recent increase of heat waves and wildfires.
Other areas of the Northeast, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, who was the first state to pass the 2 degree Celsius, have also seen climes beyond normal.
According to the Washington Post, most regional increases were due to warmer winters rather than summer heat waves. Less snowfall and ice mean those areas aren’t as likely to reflect solar dispersion during the winter months, ultimately feeding into a warming period.
Although scientists can’t figure out why the Northeast is warming so rapidly, some experts believe the 2-degree Celsius hotspots are a glimpse into our future.
Aside from the higher than average regional temperatures, there are also other factors that pose a threat to U.S. communities such as cold, heat, flooding, drought and even rising sea-levels.
Four of the top five cities with the “lowest degree of readiness” are in Southern California alone (Anaheim, San Bernardino, Santa Ana and Riverside) and have all reached between 1.8 degrees Celsius and 2.1 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial levels.
While it may be summer in the U.S., some communities have experienced a real climate crisis, signaling climate change needs to be addressed now.
Image via Isengardt