7 facts and predictions about climate change in CT

Connecticut is one of the fastest warming states in the Northeast, the fastest warming region in the contiguous United States, according to a report.

A man and dog – both wearing life jackets – paddle to keep cool off Stamford.

Patrick Sykes / For Hearst Connecticut Media

This weekend, Connecticutans and millions of other Americans will continue to wait for a sweltering heat wave, as hot and humid conditions are expected to make the region feel between 90 and 100 degrees.

While this week’s scorching conditions around the world have been nearly unbearable, especially for those who work outdoors and residents of low-income neighborhoods, heat waves are becoming more frequent due to climate change. , said Anji Seth, head of the geography department at the University of Connecticut. .

“As global average temperatures rise, we tend to see more temperature extremes,” she said. “So we should expect more heat waves in Connecticut.”

Several scientists like Seth have analyzed extreme heat and other discouraging weather trends in Connecticut, which are expected to worsen unless countries take steps to drastically reduce emissions over the next decade. The figures show that, like everywhere else, the effects will upset the lives of the inhabitants.

“The climate is changing. And it’s getting harder and harder not to notice it,” Seth said.

Here are a few things to know about global warming research in the Nutmeg State:

CT is one of the fastest warming states in the contiguous United States

Connecticut is one of the fastest warming states in the Northeast, the fastest warming region in the contiguous United States, according to a Washington Post analysis. Since the 19th century, the average temperature of Fairfield County and much of southwestern Connecticut has risen more than 2 degrees Celsius, double the average for the lower 48 states. Connecticut’s 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 1990, and half of them have occurred since 2010.

In 2050, CT is expected to see 44 days with temperatures above 90 degrees

According to a report by the non-profit organization Union of Concerned Scientists, if global emission trends continue, the number of days with temperatures above 90 degrees in Hartford will rise to 44 by mid-century. In 2019, the average is 11 days per year.

By 2100, CT’s summer climate will resemble present-day South Carolina

According to a report from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The report’s authors also predict that temperatures in Hartford will exceed more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit 28 days a year.

“It would mean major devastation to the ecology of the area,” Seth said. “We would see significant mortality of our current vegetation and ecosystems. And some delay, because some things would have to shift, because we don’t have the same ecosystem as South Carolina.”

The nights are getting warmer

According to a 2019 report from the Connecticut Institute for Climate Resilience and Adaptation. These nights create detrimental health risks for the animals needed for agriculture and for people, who depend on the cool night temperatures to recover from the daytime heat.

State sees fewer cold days

Winters are warming faster than other seasons, with rates of 0.4 degrees per decade, according to the CIRCA report. Warmer winters mean the state will see a drop in frost days from 140 days a year to 80 by 2050.

CT coastal communities are prone to flooding

If no action is taken to reduce carbon emissions, sea level rise in Connecticut could rise 1.5 feet by 2050 and up to 3 feet by 2100, according to projections. of CIRCA. That means 61% of the state’s 3.6 million people live in flood-prone communities. By 2080, Connecticut could lose up to 24,000 acres of land to sea level rise.

Low-income communities will be disproportionately affected

As the number of hot days increases, residents will need to use air conditioning more often, creating a financial burden for low-income households. In 2020, more than 400,000 households are unable or struggling to pay their electricity bills, according to a Governor’s Council report on climate change.

“It’s not an isolated challenge. It’s linked to all these other challenges that we have. So we can’t just work to end fossil fuels, we have to do it in a way that creates more justice and fairness,” Seth said.

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