July wasn’t just hot — it was the hottest month ever recorded, according to NASA. And this year is likely to be the hottest year on record.
Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000, as heat waves have become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting. A study in the journal Nature Climate Change last year found that three of every four daily heat extremes can be tied to global warming.
This map provides a glimpse of our future if nothing is done to slow climate change. By the end of the century, the number of 100-degree days will skyrocket, making working or playing outdoors unbearable, and sometimes deadly. The effects on our health, air quality, food and water supplies will get only worse if we don’t drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions right away.
These calculations by Climate Central are based on projections by the World Climate Research Programme that assume that greenhouse gas emission trends will continue unabated through 2100. Daily maximum values for the average of the years 1991 to 2010 are based on meteorological data compiled by Ed Maurer at Santa Clara University.
Heidi Cullen is the chief scientist for Climate Central, an environmental research group, and the author of “The Weather of the Future.”
Graphics by Tim Wallace and Bill Marsh
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