This week, President Biden announced that his administration is “mobilizing an interagency effort to deal with the effects of extreme heat across the country.” The response is crucial to the heat crisis that has plagued the entire nation.
This recent announcement is why I am adamant that weather analytics should play a bigger role in climate change roadmaps. I have pointed out in the past how weather analytics can help with managing supply chain efficiencies while reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact both in real-time and in future performance. Weather analytics can also help us move toward the net zero emission policy by providing valuable data and consultancy to the renewable energy sector for more reliable sources of energy. The extreme temperatures that are harming business, infrastructure and the public are another reason that policy makers should look to weather analytics as part of the climate change solution.
A recent report by the National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that summer 2021 was the hottest summer on record in the contiguous U.S. NOAA reports the average temperature during June through August was 2.6 degrees above average and nearly a fifth of the country experienced record-warm temperatures.
We saw the impact of these hot temperatures on transportation, such as buckling roads in Minnesota and melted streetcar lines in Oregon and we saw the tragic effect through the loss of lives, particularly during the Pacific Northwest heat wave. Extreme heat is the leading weather-related cause of death in the U.S. and that is without accounting for many deaths where heat was a major contributor or was not listed as the cause of death.
I am happy to read that the Biden Administration is including atmospheric experts in several of their interagency efforts to respond to extreme heat. According to a White House Fact Sheet, The National Integrated Heat Health Information System, jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NOAA, convenes federal agencies and local partners to develop science-based products and services to improve our national heat response. And, The Interagency Working Group on Extreme Heat, co-led by The Department of Health and Human Services, The Environmental Protection Agency and NOAA will continue to regularly convene agencies to communicate, coordinate, and improve the federal response to extreme heat.
Scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and are likely to become more frequent or more intense. As world leaders, policy makers, local governments and businesses continue prepare for future extreme weather events – and work together to avoid potentially more catastrophic outcomes – they shouldn’t overlook the power of weather data in the here and now. The interagency efforts to respond to extreme heat is a great start, but as mentioned, there are several areas where weather data can help shape response and policy. Weather analytics is the most underused, yet readily available, resource that we can use today to prepare for the future of our climate.