Hurricanes get names. What about heat waves?

Heat waves are likely to become more and more frequent, especially in urban centers, where the risk tends to be higher . An important Un...


Heat waves are likely to become more and more frequent, especially in urban centers, where the risk tends to be higher. An important United Nations Climate Report released in August warned that countries have delayed reducing their fossil fuel emissions for so long that they can no longer prevent global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years, resulting in potentially deadly heat waves and more frequent severe droughts.

Often, heat waves pose the greatest danger to people in places known for their cooler weather, where some homes, community centers, and libraries do not have air conditioning. Outside of Greece, there have been deadly heat waves in recent months in places like the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, where record temperatures helped spread a forest fire which destroyed most of a small town in western Canada.

Storms – like Tropical Storm Henri– which this week caused power outages and record rains in the northeast – have been given names for at least a few hundred years, with 16th-century cyclones in the Caribbean named after saints, such as Tropical Storm San Roque in 1508 and Hurricane San Francisco in 1526, according to a research paper published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The National Hurricane Center in the United States officially began naming tropical storms in 1953 using only female names, and in 1978, he began to include the names of men and women on the lists of storms in the eastern North Pacific.

Using short, easy-to-remember names instead of latitude-longitude identification methods can reduce confusion when multiple tropical storms occur at the same time, the National Hurricane Center said. For example, if one tropical storm is in the Gulf of Mexico, while another is in the northeast, such as Grace and Henri this week, the use of separate names may reduce cases of people ignoring a warning, believing it to refer to a distant storm.

Great Britain also names storms. Its national weather service, the Met Office, started the practice six years ago, saying naming makes it easier to give urgent weather warnings.

Experts say the same logic applies to heat waves, although they may not be so simple to categorize, because a heat wave in one place may not be a heat wave in another. Newly appointed Athens Heat Manager Eleni Myrivili said scientists and officials were discussing ways to make it easier for policymakers to implement preventive emergency measures, including naming heat waves.

One downside could be that if too many weather events have names, the message could get lost, said Suzana J. Camargo, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. “I think it’s a good tool to have and if it’s a big event it makes sense, but I’m just worried if they start naming every little thing because it loses that power that it is. ‘he has, “she said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Hurricanes get names. What about heat waves?
Hurricanes get names. What about heat waves?
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