Hot Hot Hot
July 5, 2019

The temperature in Anchorage reached 90 degrees on the Fourth of July, shattering an all-time record as Alaska suffers through a heat wave.

The National Weather Service warned temperatures on Friday could again exceed the previous record at Anchorage International Airport of 85 degrees, set on June 14, 1969.

AccuWeather predicts that over the next few days, high temperatures across the state will be up to 20 degrees above normal for this time of year. "It's not just the magnitude of the heat, it's how long it will last," Weather Channel meteorologist Jon Erdman said earlier in the week. "Our forecast suggests highs may top out in the 80s in Anchorage for six straight days into early next week, before the heat slowly eases a bit later next week." Harold Maass

May 26, 2017

We've all been there — tossing and turning in sweat-soaked sheets, fan on full blast, wishing we could just fall asleep. A nearly decade-long study of 765,000 Americans, published Friday, found that as the world warms as a result of climate change, we are likely to get worse and worse night sleeps due to the difficulty of slumbering when it's hot out. "Elderly people, and people making less than $50,000 per year, seem especially affected by the trend," The Atlantic writes.

Basically, for thousands and thousands of years hot days would cool into comfortable nights as the sun's heat radiated back out into space in the evening. But now greenhouse gases reflect that heat back at the Earth, even at night, keeping us toasty if we don't have the a/c on full blast. "We know from a broad literature in the laboratory context that our sleep is regulated pretty heavily by our body temperature — and especially by our core body temperature," said Nick Obradovich, one of the study's authors.

Obradovich added that while the study focused on the U.S., it could be even harder for people in other parts of the world to power through the hot nights. "In Ghana, it's really hot and really humid, and there are no other options. You just suffer through the heat," he said.

Getting adequate sleep, of course, is important for good health. Deprivation has been linked to conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity, as well as shorter-term consequences like problems with mood and memory. Obradovich noted that older people tend to have higher mortality rates during heat waves, too, and part of the reason could be all the tossing and turning cutting into their sleep.

Read more about Obradovich's research at The Atlantic. Jeva Lange

June 20, 2016

Temperatures in the Southwestern U.S. hit record-setting highs over the weekend, killing four in Arizona and fueling wildfires. An estimated 30 million people are currently under heat advisories, and parts of California, Arizona, and Nevada are facing "'red flag warnings' for extreme fire conditions," Reuters reports. There are already three large wildfires burning in the region.

In California, heat records were broken in 14 places, while in Arizona records were shattered in seven areas. In California's Palm Springs, Thermal, Indio, and Borrego, temperatures rose to as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday. In Phoenix, it was 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat wave is expected to stick around until at least Tuesday. In California, New Mexico, and Arizona, Monday will mark the hottest first day of summer ever recorded. Temperatures in the Southwestern desert could rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Becca Stanek

May 20, 2016

Texas may be getting its second retractable-roofed major league baseball stadium following the Texas Rangers' proposal to build a replacement for their current 22-year-old ballpark, Globe Life Park. While a retractable roof often serves to keep a park dry in cities like Seattle, the Rangers' roof, like the Houston Astros', is meant in part to protect players and fans from the dangerous heat of Texas summers, where it can get to 90 degrees or hotter during the games.

The Rangers' lease on Globe Life Park doesn't expire until 2024, but the new ballpark is expected to be in service before then. While Globe Life was built for $191 million back in 1994, the new stadium is expected to cost north of the $500 million mark (the Miami Marlins' new retractable-roofed park, for example, cost $639 million).

The construction of the park will be up for voters in Arlington, Texas, to approve, and would be likely paid for using sales taxes and public revenues — a method many critics call absurd. Jeva Lange

May 20, 2016

India sweltered under its hottest day ever on Thursday when temperatures in the city of Phalodi reached 123.8 degrees. The previous high of 123 degrees in 1956 was recorded in the same western state of Rajasthan.

India is currently bearing the brunt of a merciless heat wave, where areas in the region are experiencing temperatures as high as 116.6 daily. April, May, and June tend to be the nation's hottest months before monsoons cool the country later in the summer.

Hundreds have already died of heat-related ailments while crops have been destroyed in more than 13 states. There are reports of farmers committing suicide around the country, or abandoning farmlands to move to urban slums.

The hottest temperature ever recorded on earth was 134 degrees in Death Valley, California, in 1913. Jeva Lange

August 5, 2015

Pour on the hot sauce: A new study says that regularly eating spicy foods is associated with a lower risk of death. A team of international researchers led by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences found that people who chowed down on spicy foods between one to two times weekly had a 10 percent reduced risk of death compared to those who turned up the heat at mealtime less often than once a week. The more frequently a person ate spicy foods, the further reduced the risk of death became. For people who ate spicy foods on a nearly daily basis, the risk of death was reduced by 14 percent.

But don't run out and stock up on hot chili peppers just yet. Scientists underscored the fact that this connection between longevity and and a taste for spice is merely associational — no cause and effect relationship could yet be confirmed. "Future research is needed to establish whether spicy food consumption has the potential to improve health and reduce mortality directly or if it is merely a marker of other dietary and lifestyle factors," wrote Nita Forouhi from the University of Cambridge. "The added contribution of spicy food intake to the benefits of a balanced healthy diet and healthy lifestyles also remains to be investigated."

Perhaps someday eating spicy foods could become a dietary recommendation. Alongside the possibility of increased longevity, CBS News reports that spiciness has previously been found to have "anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammation, and anti-cancer properties." Becca Stanek

December 3, 2014

Climate change deniers, take note: This year is set to be the hottest on record, according to a new United Nations report. The UN's World Meteorological Organization presented the findings during climate negotiations in Peru, Reuters reports.

"There is no standstill in global warming," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. "What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface."

WMO based its claim on the above-average temperatures from January through October. Even if 2014 cools down in its final days, the UN says it will still rank among the hottest few years.

Read more from the report here. Julie Kliegman

August 23, 2014

A new study published in the journal Science says Earth's surface temperatures should rise more slowly for the next decade, reports Time.

A current cycle in the Atlantic Ocean which is pushing heat into deeper waters is the impetus for the slowdown, but the study hastened to note the findings do not mean climate change is stopping altogether. Instead, worldwide temperatures will continue to rise, and at the end of the 30-year current cycle (in another 10 years), they could speed up to new, unprecedented levels.

Scientists addressed the slowdown earlier this year, saying of the respite that "a short-term slowdown in the warming of Earth's surface does not invalidate our understanding of long-term changes in global temperature arising from human-induced changes in greenhouse gases." Sarah Eberspacher

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