Florida continues to break heat records

Florida is home to ten of the hottest cities in the country with Miami and the Southeast topping the list.

Florida is home to ten of the hottest cities in the country with Miami and the Southeast topping the list.

Experts are concerned about the potential long term impact on man and nature if temperatures, as projected, keep going up.

As the planet continues to warm from the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, so called normal temperatures are also rising.

“The past seven years have all placed within the top 7 warmest years on record,” said Dr. Erik Johanson, with Florida Atlantic University’s Geosciences Department.

Since 1970, Southeast Florida has had a growing number of days above 90 compared to previous decades, posing a threat to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable residents.

“So heat waves are often referred to as invisible killers that can be extremely deadly for the extremely old and extremely young,” Johanson said.

By some estimates, the number of dangerously hot days in Florida could quadruple in the coming years if nothing is done to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“Those are really important at regulating the earth’s temperature but if we put too much in the atmosphere it’s going to hold heat in, this leads to really extreme temperatures and all the other effects of climate change,” Johanson said.

He said introducing more energy efficient power plants could have a major impact on the warming trend.

“Air conditioning is a huge energy demand especially here in South Florida so with more people moving to the area there’s going to be more energy demand so we have to be sure we can produce clean energy to not contribute to that problem and to start curbing greenhouse gas emissions,” Johanson said.

Extreme heat also leads to increased flooding in coastal area’s and fuels tropical cyclone formation.

This year, 2021 is forecast to be the sixth straight above average U.S. Atlantic hurricane season.

Climate experts said the good news is that the Sunshine State is prime for alternative energy production methods, such as solar, which they said could effectively meet demand with less environmental impact.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.