Thursday, July 25, 2019

Roasting Europe and Implications for Infrastructure

Image from Climate Reanalyzer (https://ClimateReanalyzer.org),
Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.
Late in June and early July of this year, temperature records were broken in 8 European countries due to an unusual heat wave. Here we are a few weeks later and temperature records are being broken across many areas of Europe including France, Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain. Paris temperatures reached 108.3 degrees F breaking the record by several degrees of the earlier high of 104.7.

As the above referenced Washington Post article notes, many European homes and businesses do not have air conditioning. As a result the health threats are pretty significant. There is concern in many communities about the impact of the heat wave on some of the more vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly and the very young. Many are noting that the infrastructure is not in place to deal with the new extreme temperatures that Europe is now facing.

As the climate warms, there will have to be new adaptations as the world starts to see more of these types of anomalies.  Here in New York, we had severe rainstorms this week that caused extensive flooding throughout the region and many are asking how our infrastructure will manage the impacts of climate change in the coming decades.

What infrastructure in your community is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change?

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