According to a new report released Monday, an “extreme heat belt” will develop in the United States over the next 30 years from Louisiana in the south to Lake Michigan in the north, traversing the US Midwest.
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This area, home to more than 100 million Americans and covering a quarter of the country, is being
Currently, this is only the case in about 50 US counties with populations of 8 million. In 30 years, this will affect more than 1,000 counties, including the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and even southern Wisconsin.
The Midwest has been particularly affected due to its distance from the ocean, the report notes, although other smaller regions on the East Coast and Southern California have also been affected.
Heat is the weather phenomenon that kills the most in the United States, ahead of floods or hurricanes. It can lead to hospitalization and serious complications. It’s especially dangerous in places not used to intense heat, like the northern United States.
The First Street Foundation based its projections on a moderate scenario from the United Nations climate experts (IPCC) in which greenhouse gas emissions peak in the 2040s before declining.
Beyond these extreme temperatures, the whole country needs to warm up. On average, the locally hottest 7 days of the year today will become the hottest 18 days in 30 years.
The number of “dangerous days”, defined as days when the temperature almost reaches what feels like 38°C, will increase, especially in the south of the country.
Around the Gulf of Mexico, many regions currently have about 100 days per year with this temperature, but are expected to have more than 120 days in 2053.
The heatwaves that see these very hot days follow one another without a break are also likely to become longer: in thirty years, large areas of Texas and Florida may experience up to more than 70 consecutive days around 38°C.
The report assessed these changes in great detail to allow residents, businesses and managers to anticipate their response on the ground.
“We must prepare for the inevitable,” Matthew Eby, founder of the First Street Foundation, said in a statement. “The consequences will be terrible. »