California faces scorching future as climate change worsens

Krish Mehta, News Writer

From countless droughts to fires that set ablaze the land, California is facing an escalating series of climate-related crises. It is clear that things only seem to escalate for the worse. From August 31 to Labor Day, California faced “the worst heat wave of the year so far”, with temperatures that soared as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Southern California.

This extreme heat results from a “heat dome,” an abnormally concentrated area of high pressure Essentially, the heat dries the soil, eradicating moisture and allowing the sun to more efficiently heat the surface of Earth. Though not too detrimental on its own, the heat dome, combined with the rapid declination of Earth’s health, will be lethal to humans.

In addition to posing serious health risks such as heat stroke and rashes, the heat wave will also increase the chance of wildfires that will worsen California’s ongoing drought crisis, according to the National Weather Service.

Furthermore, as retired climatologist Bill Patzert noted in an interview with Los Angeles Times, another factor that makes this heat wave deadly is the fact that the temperatures drop at night, thus allowing no natural cooling down of the body.

“We’ve always had these systems, but not as frequently, not as intense and not as long-lasting,” Patzert said.

Though the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning only for the week of Labor Day, according to UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, the heat is expected to be “a long-term event.”

“That’s sort of characteristic of heat domes…Once they develop and become particularly extreme, they kind of become hard to dislodge,” Swain said.

To prepare California for future record-breaking heat waves, on September 9, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his signing of legislation r to protect Californians from the heat waves. This new law reinforces California’s Extreme Heat Action Plan. It was released earlier this year to strengthen the state’s durability and reduce the heat’s negative economic, environmental, and health impacts.

As part of the new legislation, California state representative Luz Rivas will sponsor bill AB 2238, and establish the country’s first extreme heat advance warning system to help Californians better prepare for future heat waves.

Further climate-preparedness efforts proposed by Newsom include an allocation of $864 million to address extreme heat and the implementation of a law that requires counties to allow the community to use the resilience centers to reduce the health impacts during extreme heat events other similar dire conditions.

Though efforts to address global warming are being implemented in California and worldwide, Governor Newsom noted that warmer temperatures are starting to reveal themselves earlier than average.

“California is taking aggressive action to combat the climate crisis and build resilience in our most vulnerable communities, including a comprehensive strategy to protect Californians from extreme heat,” Newsom said. “With lives and livelihoods on the line, we cannot afford to delay.”