It was 97 degrees in Athens yesterday. You think that’s bad? Just wait.
Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to cause an 8-degree jump in global temperatures over pre-industrial levels, and a group called the Union of Concerned scientists calculated what that would mean for individual counties.
Clarke County averages 61 days a year with a heat index above 90. (Sort of like wind chill, the heat index combines the temperature and humidity level into a number that expresses how hot it feels.) Nine days a year on average, it rises above 100 degrees, and twice, it hits 105.
If nothing is done about climate change, the heat index will hit 90 110 times a year by mid-century, and it’ll hit 100 six times as often as it does now. For nearly a month out of the year—29 days—the heat index will be 105 or above.
The name of the report, “Killer Heat in the United States: The Future of Dangerously Hot Days,” is not hyperbole. At 105, even healthy adults are at risk of heat-related illness and death.
But that’s not all: Temperatures will continue to rise, and in 80 years Clarke County will experience seven “off the charts” days a year. The National Weather Service’s heat index currently tops out at 127 degrees. For comparison, the highest temperature ever recorded locally was 109.
Even if the world—especially the U.S., which withdrew from the agreement under President Trump—somehow finds the political will to meet the modest goal set forth by the Paris climate accord to hold global warming to 3.6 degrees Farenheit, Clarke County would still see an average of 104 days a year with a heat index above 90, 41 above 100 and 18 above 105.
Athens, OH is looking better and better all the time.
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