Temperatures continue to hit record highs in Texas. However, there is more to the story than just Texas. In fact, a large portion of the Northern Hemisphere is dealing with record-setting heat, from the United States into Europe. What is the cause of this extraordinary heat?
Some residents from Texas speculate that this is a "typical Texas summer", when in all reality, it isn't. Dallas/Fort Worth has already recorded 23 days of being at or above 100°F, and we haven't even reached the peak of summer. The average amount of 100°F days in a year in DFW is 20. At this rate, we could exceed 65 days by the end of the year. The most 100+ degree days in a single summer in DFW was 71 back in 2011. The 2nd most was set back in 1980 with 69 days of 100+ degree heat. Beyond that, our 3rd warmest summer only had 56 days of 100+ degree heat back in 1998.
NTXWC 100°F+ Days Prediction (2022): 64
The huge question is, what is causing this heatwave in Texas?
There are several reasons why this could be occurring. Though some deny it, climate change is ongoing. Climate change is easily the biggest contributor to the longer and more dangerous heatwaves that the world is seeing. Glaciers are shrinking, pollution is at an all-time high, and fossil fuels are being burnt at extremely high rates.
Now, for those who may think climate change is not a factor, let's go back in the history books into what DFW temperatures used to record back in the 1900-1950 range.
Between 1900-1950, we didn't have a single summer that had recorded more than 37 100°F days. From 1951-1985, we recorded 6 years with at least 38 days of above 100°F. Most notably, 1980 was the worst of those years. From 1986-2021, we have recorded 4 years of at least 38 days above 100°F. Though you may think, "wow, so it looks like the heat isn't nearly as frequent as before?". Well, yes. However, that's not the worst part about the brutal summers.
Between 1951-1985, the 6 years that had at least 38 days of above 100°F heat averaged approximately 49 days of 100°F+ weather during each of those years. However, between 1986-2021, we have averaged 54 days of 100°F+ weather during the four years that had significant heat. Is this not yet enough to prove climate change?
Well, let's continue through the statistics. According to the top 10 hottest summers of time; between 1950-1985, we had only 4 summers with 18 or more consecutive days above 100°F. Meanwhile, between 1986-2021, we had 6 summers with 18 or more consecutive days above 100°F.
So, what does all of this data indicate? Most scientists agree upon that climate change is impacting the world currently with longer-lived heat waves, more frequent severe weather, and dangerous winter cold blasts to places that don't see them that often. In this case, we have seen more frequent and long-lived heatwaves from 1986-2021 than 1900-1985. This is likely due to an increase or stabilization of the amount of fossil fuels (ie: CO2) used and pollution generated.
Is it just climate change?
Yes and no. Climate change is causing the extended periods of heatwaves and dry weather to a large portion of the Southern Plains. However, weather patterns like this during La Nina aren't rare. They occasionally happen, but not at the magnitude and length that we are seeing. Due to a dry spring, the soil was fairly dry heading into the summer months. Therefore, a lack of precipitation has led to a much drier summer along with the extreme heat.
When we think globally, areas like Europe are hitting record highs and are having extreme heatwaves right now. This brings up the question, "is it all because of La Nina?". Clearly, no. Therefore, climate change is likely the biggest reason why these heatwaves are occurring on a global scale.
Luckily, it's not all "doom and gloom".
Many people think that climate change will eventually get too bad to stop. However, we have seen very promising signs that climate change is starting to flatten out. Why? CO2 levels have remained flat for the past decade. Not just that, but more people than ever are purchasing solar panels for their own home or business. Just in the past year, the amount of Texans with solar panels has doubled! More people than ever have become vegan or limited the amount of meat they consume to limit emissions from animals. More people are purchasing electric vehicles. Though electric vehicles do not make a major difference to climate change, if you charge it with solar, it could make a long-term change.
Those are just a few of the many things that are happening that are helping to limit climate change and lower pollution globally.
There are many things that you can do that take little to no effort!
There are so many little things that you can do to help slow pollution and climate change! A lot of these can SAVE YOU MONEY as well!
1. Unplug unused appliances, phone charging ports, computers, and Alexia!
While you are at work for 8 hours on Monday, did you realize that you could be paying between $200-400 per year in unused appliances and more? You better believe it! According to The Department of Energy, you could save 10% every month when you simply unplug appliances, phone charging ports, computers, and any other unused devices! Many residents have over 20 appliances and charging ports plugged in during the day that are using electricity, even when nothing is plugged in!
2. Turn up your A/C and turn on ceiling fans!
Believe it or not, by turning up your A/C by even a degree, it can save you a lot of money on your next utility bill. When you turn on ceiling fans along with that, the temperature in your house will feel nearly the same or even slightly cooler than before! Turning your A/C to a temperature between 78-82 during the summer months is highly recommended for higher efficiency and comfort. I've personally lived with a temperature of 80 inside and it is extremely comfortable. Try it out for a few days!
3. SHOP SECOND HAND!
I cannot stress this enough. If you are looking to purchase clothes, furniture, lamps, or anything else, BUY SECOND HAND! Believe it or not, pollution is caused the most with the production of new clothes. By simply going to a second hand store, you may find some good shirts, pants, shoes, and much more that is not just cheaper, but is better for the environment. Always look for used items before buying new, because it could save you a lot of money and help the environment!
This may sound CRAZY, but it's true!
When you have your cable box plugged in and watching TV, it may use between 20-30 watts, depending on the cable box. Let's take the Samsung cable box for example. While it is on and recording, it uses 28 watts. While the cable box is off and not recording, it uses 26 watts. Don't believe me? Let's take the Apple TV for example. While on, it consumes 21 watts. While off, it still consumes 17 watts. That means you are paying a LOT for something that you may only use for 1 hour a day! With the current electricity rates near $0.14 Kwh, a Samsung Cable Box off could cost as much as $3 more per month! That might not sound like much, but imagine all of your appliances combined...
Do you have a laptop? Is it currently plugged in and has it been fully charged for a while? According to the Apple MacBook, it takes 48 watts while closed and charging. However, when it is fully charged, it can take as much as 27 watts!
You can make a BIG difference by simply unplugging things like your at-home Alexia device, TV, monitors, phone charging ports, computers, and much more! It only takes 2-3 seconds to unplug and plug back in appliances!
Want 11 more AMAZING money-saving and electricity-saving tips? Click ME!
When will the heatwave end in North Texas?
This question has been asked dozens of times to me. There is no short-term rain or significant cooldowns forecasted. The jet stream is lifted extremely far to the north, preventing any major pattern changes. The only way that we could see a big cooldown or major changes would be from either a tropical system out of the Gulf of Mexico OR a dip in the jet stream. Unfortunately, neither of these are in the forecast for the next 14 days. Temperatures are forecasted to stay above 100 degrees for the next couple of weeks, baring a major weather forecast change.
Overall, I don't expect any big pattern changes until September UNLESS a tropical system comes inland. Even then, a big change is very questionable.
As always, we will keep you updated on NTXWC with the latest.
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