Warm Up Cincinnati

Following the recent Paris Climate Accord, the issue of climate change seems to finally be getting some substantial attention. The reality, however, is that warming is already here and our climate is in for a major fever for the remainder of the century (and beyond). But when it comes specifically to Cincinnati, how hot can we expect it to get?

In 2014, the US Global Change Research Program released just this type of information in their National Climate Assessment (nca2014globalchange.gov – check it out!). According to this report heat will become a major factor in our dayto-day lives sooner than one would think. So… Dear Climate Change, how hot is it going to be here in Cincinnati in 2030? In 2050?

Cincinnati already gets pretty hot in the summer as it is now, but this past year, while the rest of the world was sweating, we had a mild summer. Don’t expect that to continue. Part of the problem here in Cincinnati is the humidity. When it is hot but the air is quite dry (low humidity), we can still be fairly comfortable outside. This is because humans are great at sweating. When humidity is low our sweat evaporates easily and keeps us cool. However, when it is humid, our sweat is much less effective. And Cincinnati loves its humidity. The number that accounts for both temperate and humidity together is called the Heat Index. A Heat Index above 90 is labeled as “Extreme Caution.” The truth is, we already hit this level in Cincinnati. An example in 2015 would be July 14, when we had a high of 90 degreeswith a humidity of 54 percent. This calculates to a heat index of 96. Things really get crazy when the Heat Index goes above 104, which is labeled “Danger.” Doesn’t it seem like “Extreme Caution” sounds worse than “Danger”? Well I guess Meteorologists didn’t think so. In 2015, we only had a single day, July 18, which landed us in the “Danger” category. The high temperature was 91 degrees with a humidity of 63 percent, which calculates to a Heat Index of 104 – just made it into that “Danger” category.

By 2030, the number of days where the Heat Index reaches this “Danger” category will be much more frequent. According to a recent projection created by Climate Central, around 2030, we will be experiencing at least 11 of these “Danger” days per year. And by 2050, it could be as high at 50 days. Imagine an entire month where it is actually dangerous to go outside during the afternoon. Afternoon Reds’ baseball games will be cancelled or moved to nighttime. The Flying Pig Marathon will be moved up from May to April. And you’re going to see more of those warnings against gassing up your car during the day because of smog (ozone). A lot more. So you may be cold today but get ready for the heat, Cincinnati!

Written by Casey Moothart
Casey Moothart is new to Northside. His family unproudly owns a VW “clean” diesel. Also he is a Pediatrician.

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