Too hot to handle

Too hot to handle

So far 2017 as has given us more than a few surprises. This week, for instance, saw flights grounded in Phoenix because it was too hot to fly. Who knew that was even possible?

Wired magazine explains here the  science behind the issue. It's all about lift. If heatwaves become more frequent, we are going to need longer and longer runways.

According to National Geographic, up to 75% of people could face deadly heatwaves by 2100, and already 30% of the world’s population is currently exposed to potentially deadly heat for 20 days per year or more.

In South Africa, we are battling ongoing drought in the western and southern Cape. Something that no doubt abetted the terrible fires that devastated Knysna and surrounding areas. We weren't alone. Wildfires caused the deaths of more than 60 people in Portugal this month, and in California over 1200 acres burned as the area also experiences record temperatures. Reports from the western USA tell of roads melting and scorpions cooling off in residential swimming pools.

Earlier in the year, on three separate occasions the Arctic recorded the Polar equivalent of a heatwave, with powerful storms driving an influx of warm, moist air into the region. Read more here.

In other parts of the world, there are predictions that this year will see an above-normal hurricane season, while the mild winter and warm spring in Alaska have led to a large patch of open water in the Chukchi Sea, an extremely unusual—possibly unprecedented—occurrence for mid-May. Read more here.

Interesting times.


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