Friday, July 22, 2011

Oppressive heat going to be the norm in Rochester, NY


It’s worth your while to read the recommendations by the New York State Department of Health on measures to take during this heat wave. There’s a lot to things to consider on a hot day and just being able to tough them out while on the job like a bunch of heat heroes (which seems to be the focus of our local media) isn’t one of them.

State Health Department, Office of Emergency Management Issue Tips to Weather Heat Wave ALBANY, NY (July 20, 2011) -- With much of the State under an Excessive Heat Watch today as temperatures are forecast to climb into the mid- to upper 90s over the next couple of days, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) offered New Yorkers the following advice to get through the expected oppressive heat. "High temperatures are common during the summer in New York, but when temperatures reach extreme levels for extended periods of time, the intense heat can be dangerous to your health," said State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D. "Heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses can cause serious health problems, especially for the elderly, infants and young children, people with respiratory ailments or chronic medical conditions, and anyone who works outdoors. We urge all New Yorker to be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and what to do if someone has them, and also take steps to keep cool and remain healthy when temperatures are high."  (July 20, 2011) New York State Department of Health

There are Heat Stroke, Heat Exhaustion, Sunburn, and Heat Cramps to consider –not to mention searing the inside of you lungs because of ground-level ozone. Athletes have to ask themselves is it worth the chance to exercise hard in this kind of weather if they are doing more harm than good.

This is all pertinent because all the studies on Climate Change for our region show that we are going to have more extremely hot days and more heat waves. Were you watching the thermometer yesterday? Temperature Hits A Record | Local News - ROCHESTER'S NEWS LEADER NEWSRADIO 1180 WHAM )

Besides the havoc on our bodies (people get crankier and there are more mental health problems in oppressive heat also) the burden on our power systems are tremendous. Everyone running their air conditioners puts a big load on our power system, with threats of outages. ( More than 3,000 in Greece, Rochester without power in today's heat - Webster, NY - Webster Post ) And the use of more water to keep ourselves, our plants, and our power stations cool mean more water has to be pumped, which uses more power to move—as moving water around is a major contributor of power usage in our area. More power, more expense, more fossil fuels being burned, more heating of our atmosphere. Get the idea?

Here’s the thing: This is our future. We are going to have to adapt to a warmer environment and that doesn’t mean one that slowly and gradually warms so we can adapt to it at our leisure. It means radical changes with more intense weather (including massive snowfall and rain in the late winter and early spring) and very hot weather days that threaten public health—continually.

Only by addressing Climate Change are we going to relieve future generations from more hot days and extreme weather. Because we didn’t act earlier, we are already condemned to some very hot days for some time into our future. The Carbon Dioxide we have already put into our atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, and there’s a lot, has to work its way through our system warming things up. We are enduring this and a hotter future because of our activities—not because things are just that way and we are simply victims of some nebulous fate. We can do a lot to change this very-hot-future-scenario. We can demand that our government support renewable energy and come up with a Climate Action Plan (like the one in Chicago) to create the kind of massive support for Climate Change measures that will actually work.

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