Summer Extreme Heat illustrated the sobering reality that human-driven climate change is making extreme heat worse worldwide. Daytime temperatures in Phoenix reached 100 degrees or higher for a full month. In northwest China, temperatures soared above 125 degrees. Southern Europe withstood waves of 100-plus degree days. But air pollution spikes when the Summer Extreme Heat rises, according to a new report.
Quality Of Air Became Worse Due to Summer Extreme Heat
In a press statement, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stated that “climate change and air quality cannot be treated separately. They go hand in hand and must be tackled together to break this vicious cycle.”
The newly released research, which is centered on 2022, emphasizes the rising danger of air pollution linked to wildfires. The likelihood of major, hot-burning fires, which may send huge plumes of smoke into the air, increases during the summer’s extreme heat. Health issues from the smoke not only affect those close to the fire but also those thousands of kilometers away.
In addition to increasing the chance of drought, Summer Extreme Heat also increases the likelihood of large dust storms. Last year, enormous clouds of fine dust blew off the world’s largest deserts, mainly harming the Arabian Peninsula. Following a Summer Extreme Heat wave that burned the deserts of northern Africa, a significant dust storm also affected southern Europe.
Summer Extreme Heat Risks
The formation of ozone, a transparent, odorless gas that irritates people’s lungs, is also promoted by warm air temperatures. It is the primary cause of smog. When contaminants, frequently from the combustion of fossil fuels, react with heat and sunshine, ozone is the result. It forms both close to the ground, where people live and breathe, and high in the atmosphere, where it aids in shielding the planet from UV radiation from the sun.
Ozone exposure can make illnesses like bronchitis or even heart ailments worse for those who breathe it in. Ozone pollution is exacerbated by hot, stagnant air, which is precisely what is present during Summer Extreme Heat waves. According to the research, southern Europe experienced weeks of extremely dangerous ozone concentrations in July 2022 due to a fatal, large-scale heat wave.