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According to Climate Central, climate change is causing summer temperatures to rise in most parts of the United States, including Jacksonville. Additionally, dangerously hot days are becoming more common and record breaking heat events are becoming more common.
To celebrate the first day of meteorological summer, June 1, Climate Central analyzed 51 years of summer temperature data at 246 US locations.
According to the data, about 95% or 233 of these locations saw average summer temperature increases, with 50% (122) seeing increases of 2 ℉ or more.
In Jacksonville, the average summer temperature has risen about 1.1 ℉ since 1970. Nine of the ten fastest warming summer locations were in the western United States
Summer night temperatures rose by 2 ° C or more in 61% of the locations assessed and about 1.6 ° C in Jacksonville.
Extreme heat is the deadliest type of dangerous weather for humans, according to the National Weather Service.
Hotter summer temperatures can lead to health problems like heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. These problems are even more common among already vulnerable populations such as the elderly, younger children, and low-income people who cannot afford air conditioning.
Connected: Warming brings more sultry weather to Jacksonville, which is the most threatened
The summer heat can also cause poor air quality by trapping pollutants near the surface and creating ground-level ozone. These pollutants can make breathing problems worse in people with asthma and other lung diseases.
In houses without air conditioning, warmer nights mean that the body has more difficulty cooling down and recovering after intense heat events. One study found that warmer nights can make it harder to sleep well.
Connected: Report: The increasing number of hot days threatens the health of Florida’s outdoor workers
Cities tend to be hotter than surrounding suburbs and rural areas due to what is known as the urban heat island effect, which is caused by a higher prevalence of heat-absorbing surfaces and materials such as streets and buildings. Studies have shown that this phenomenon disproportionately affects minorities and low-income communities, which often have fewer shade trees than whiter, more affluent neighborhoods.
As WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union reported last year, summer temperatures in Jacksonville neighborhoods, which were discriminated against under redlining policies about a century ago, are nearly 10 degrees hotter than tree-lined, historic neighborhoods like Avondale, Ortega Terrace, Veneto, San Marco and Granada.
Connected: Mayport, other bases could see more hot days if emissions continue unchecked
About 38% of the locations surveyed by Climate Central reported at least one additional week of extremely hot temperatures (over 90abo) per year compared to 1970, and 59% reported an annual increase of at least three days.
Jacksonville is experiencing 4 more days with temperatures above 95 ℉ compared to 50 years ago.
Miami reports the biggest change with 79 additional days over 90 ℉.
Brendan Rivers can be reached at [email protected], 904-358-6396 or on Twitter @BrendanRivers.