FAIRFIELD (KPIX 5) — A study from an environmental science group says that as the planet gets warmer, people are definitely going to feel it. And for some, it could be life-threatening.
The Solano County city of Fairfield can get pretty toasty in the summer. And when it does, it’s hard to escape the heat.
“Yes, the 90s feel like 100s,” said Fairfield resident McGarity Kimble. “When they say it’s 90, it feels like over 100 plus out here.”
- READ THE REPORT: Killer Heat in the United States
That feeling of being hotter is measured in what’s called the “heat index,” which combines temperature and humidity to tell how hot weather is really affecting people. A new study by a group called the Union of Concerned Scientists is using the heat index to sound an alarm about yet another effect of climate change.
“We know that extreme heat is already very dangerous in our country…it can even be deadly,” said the group’s Senior Climate Scientist Kristina Dahl. “So we wanted people to be able to see what’s coming down the pike depending on how our emissions change over time.”
The study projects how many days different areas will reach temperatures of 90 degrees, 100, 105, and what they call “off-the-chart hot.”
For example, they say by the end of the century, Oakland, which historically doesn’t have any days over 100 degrees, will average 16 days of century heat per year. Napa does get warm now but the study says by century’s end it could be averaging seventeen 105 degree days.
“We know that extreme heat has been on the rise,” said Dahl. “And that’s due in part to the rise in emissions from human sources like the burning of fossil fuels. So that’s a change that we’ve seen over the past several decades.”
But Angel Lime has lived in Fairfield for more than three of those decades and swears things used to be a lot hotter.
“Back in the 1980s, I mean, we had like a whole month of 100-degree weather,” he told KPIX 5. “It was really hot and miserable back then. But we don’t get that anymore.”
Nevertheless, the study says things will heat up as the century progresses and vulnerable people could die as a result of it.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is an advocacy group that collects scientific data to lobby for environmental policy changes. They believe the only way to slow climate change is to drastically cut greenhouse gasses by eliminating all fossil fuels. It we don’t, they say the summer heat could get to be a real killer.