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‘Climate chaos’ next worry as wild weather continues


Experts discuss ramifications

As the brisk winds of fall begin to swirl, they signal the end of a record-breaking scorching summer. Experts want to remind the public that California residents may be in for more scorching hot weather as temperatures for the fall are also on the rise. 

“What we know overall is that climate change is making heat waves severe, more frequent, and lasting longer compared to last year,” said Braden Key, the Extreme Heat Program Manager in California’s Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. “Heat waves are extremely dangerous for young children, older adults, outdoor workers, and people who deal with chronic disease, as they’re exposed at a higher rate, and their bodies aren’t strong enough to withstand the exhaustion.”

The effect of climate on people’s health is of concern to organizations as the air quality has deteriorated over the decades and caused many to suffer from lung damage, an increase of asthma in children, respiratory and heart disease, and death. The environment has also suffered from the changes in the climate as there’s an increase in forest fires, droughts, flooding in various parts of California, and the destruction of crops and farmland. Animals have also lost their home to the change in climate and the frequency of national disasters. 

Key points out that while climate change is a commonly used term, when it comes to heat waves, it is not the proper term, as climate chaos would better fit the current conditions of the weather as it is so unpredictable.

“The general trend of the weather shows that it’s going to get hotter over time, it may not be consistent day to day, but the overall projection is an increase of temperatures throughout all seasons,” Key said.

Dr. Maggie Park, a pediatrician who serves as a County Public Health Officer, advises people to practice heat exhaustion prevention skills and to visit the public health website to learn what heat exhaustion looks like. The Public Health website has tips on how to stay cool in an A/C-controlled area as well as staying hydrated and, when outdoors, find a shady area and reduce exposure to the sun.

“We know that everybody doesn’t have the luxury of living with A/C, that’s why we recommend cooling centers to all residents, with public spaces like libraries, community centers, and shelters as some of the options,” Park said.