woman drinking water during a heatwave

What are HeatWaves?

Try hard to start on a good note

Over the past 30 years, Heatwaves have killed more than all the weather disasters combined, including earthquakes – 

Jeez man that was no good note. Try something better.

Uhhhmm I think It is much more, soothing news than the fact that heatwaves take the life of 1300 Americans each year, or that it is projected to get worse as climate change spikes up in intensity and frequency. Let’s say from affecting 30% of the worlds population to affecting 75% – wait, did anyone count the birds and the dogs and the elephants and even the dolphins? 

The first intuitive question here is to know how to protect yourself from heatwaves, which you can read later. You can also read how to best keep your house cool during a heatwave. But before jumping off, take your time to understand what heatwaves are all about because your life should come first before your home. 

Without further ado, I will delve into what heatwaves are, the causes, and effects. Hopefully, from that insight, you can choose wisely the best gadgets to survive a heatwave – to arm yourselves with on its day of reckoning, including during vacations and camping.

Definition of HeatWaves.

Heatwaves happen when the temperature of a place decides to break the limits of its average scales. The air is heated and becomes light but heavy for the lungs to breathe. What used to be cool breeze becomes a slap of hot smothering air, and the cats and dogs continue to whimper in discomfort. At worst, some people begin to lose energy, fatigue sets in, the whole job is ruined at the office, and some people actually die. Ok, I am sorry about all of that information. Cheer up.

Causes of Heatwaves.

Don’t forget, only good notes!!!

Alright – On a normal day, the sun kisses the earth with its beam of light. And just like your dream kiss, its energy ensues with soothing warmth. The air around the earth’s surface also becomes warm, agitated, lighter, and replaces with the cold air on top. This exchange happens until clouds are formed – causing precipitation – and the cycle continues. 

But in the case of heatwaves, a pressure system supersedes the rise of warm air. The warm air is trapped within the pressure system and forced downwards while the sun continues its culinary internship. Heatwaves can last for 1-2 days, and the deadliest can last for about 20 days. Heatwaves are characteristically followed by very high and hot humidity.

I hope you did not imagine simmering vegetables in 45 to 65 degrees Celsius for 2 to 20 days because that’s what it is. This baking continues till another stronger pressure systems come and knock the other out, and of course, move with it. If it not – culinary continua. 

The major cause of heatwaves is climate change and global warming. It increases heatwaves, and this, in turn, increases the temperature of the earth. There is no certain degree of temperature to determine heatwaves because they vary from place to place. They can be identified when the temperature of that location rises 10 to 30 degrees Celsius of its average temperature.

Global warming is also changing the Jet stream and cycle of ocean waves and currents. Typically, the cold Arctic air is supposed to meet the warm southern air for an ambient handshake. A process we have seldom appreciated until the artic air started warming faster. Despite becoming warmer, it still hurries to meet the warm southern air – a chaos we now appreciate in the experience of lengthy heatwaves and augmented technologies.

What are the Effects of Heatwaves?

The most affected population when there is a heatwave are pregnant women, children, adults, those with heart and respiratory diseases, and our furry, pawy, friends. Heatwaves can even cause a total blackout and power outage due to Urban Island effect. 

How heatwaves affect Humans. 

frustrated woman from heat waves

The effect of heatwaves on humans is the same effect on animals. You can learn how to protect yourself in a heatwave here.

Heat stress and Heart failure: 

When temperature increases, the body, a perfect machine, seeks to regulate its temperature. It begins to lose heat, and this changes the body chemistry within a short timing. The body, while trying to cool rapidly, can affect the heart and can lead to heart failure for people already with heart conditions. 

Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion.

The body begins to lose more water and the feeling of thirst increases. You can feel faint and dizzy at a point. 

No one loves to feel clammy with a lot of sweat; persistence of sweating leads to exhaustion and muscle cramps. 

Heat Stroke: 

If the body’s temperature begins to rise to 40 degrees Celsius, some of the organs begin to fail, the gut starts to leak toxins, and all your detoxification therapies become nullified at this point. These toxins can create a deadly inflammatory response in the body – can we stop here? You can read about the gory heat stroke if you still want your day ruined. 

Drowning: 

Drowning?!! I was surprised too. 

Drowning cases become regular during heatwaves because humans and their pets drown in pools in a bid to cool their body temperature. 

Which People are Most Exposed to the effects of Heatwaves?

Heatwaves affect people who work outdoors.

It affects people who are homeless.

People on medication that inhibits them from sweating.

Alcoholics are also affected during heatwaves.

It affects those without proper ventilation systems and air conditioners – woe to Africa – I guess. 

The united states alone have more than 15 million workers who have to work outdoors, which is one of the reasons why a postal service worker died when the temperatures hit 47 degrees Celsius. So be kind to let someone into your home when the government warns about a heatwave.  

This is also a good reason why you should not throw the old ventilators and air conditioners away. You can send them to homes of less privileged or have them recycled to reduce their carbon footprints. 

How do heatwaves affect the Environment?

Wild Fires. 

Heatwaves create tinder for ravaging fires. In 2019, it was the culprit for the wildfires that took place in Alaska and Siberia. Wildfires displace animals, destroy crops, and release more carbon into the atmosphere. 

Loss of Icecaps.

Green land experienced one of is most significant melting events that caused the melting of ice caps releasing about 197 tons of water in the North Atlantic, causing a sea-level rise of 0.02 inches. 

Mass Reduction in the Population Insects.

Heatwaves cause infertility and a major cause of the reducing number of insects. The warmer temperature reduces the sperm count of many males. Hence, an inability to reproduce. Some temperatures go beyond reducing their sperm count to making them infertile.

How do Heatwaves affect the economy?

Crop Production.

Plants and cereal crops that are temperature sensitive also become affected by rising temperatures. The balance published that heatwaves lowered food production by one-tenth between 1964 and 2007. These projections are set to increase if there is continued release of greenhouse gases.

Reduced Productivity.

Studies have proven that an increase in temperature reduces the productivity of a worker by 2% for every degree Celsius rise. So, if your employees make lesser sales on the baking days, please don’t sack them. Just get an air conditioner. 

High Electricity bills and Power Outages. 

Air conditioners try to balance the temperature (the same way the body attempts to balance its temperature). This causes them to use more power and increase electricity bills. Some cities may experience power outages, which also results in loss of profit for most businesses. 

How do heatwaves cause power outages?

This is not a direct effect of heatwaves. It happens when people increase the use of power to run air conditioning systems. The greater the number of electricity demand especially in developed cities, the greater the strain on the transmission lines. Transmission lines also have reduced efficiency and capacity. The strain on transmission lines during heatwaves can cause them to short circuit resulting in blackout. But it not the end of the world for you. These devices can run for a while without power to help you survive during a heatwave.

It is projected that heatwaves will continue in increased intensity causing a plunge in the economy as many states will prepare for cooling centers, health costs, and decreasing productivity. 

How hot can a Heatwave get?

Weather forecasters always use Heat Index to determine the extent and degree of a heatwave. These temperatures average above 32 degrees Celsius and can occur anywhere the pressure system forms. 

What is Heat Advisory?

Prior to heatwaves, the weather channels issue a warning when the maximum heat index rises above 33 degrees Celsius. 

Heatwaves do not mean the end of the world. We can still stay protected when they occur and also protect our homes. 

Do you have an experience with heatwaves? You can share in the comment session for others to learn.

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Sophie

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Cheers!

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