Phoenix Redux

I’ve been wondering why my post called, Haboobs–Is Phoenix Doomed, has been looked at over 10 times in the past couple weeks. I found out today. It’s Haboob season in Phoenix!!!

“A dust storm reported to be more than 3,000 feet high hit Phoenix Friday, limiting visibility and threatening to reshape landscapes and leave a coating of grit in its wake. Striking photos show a wall of dust pushing its way across neighborhoods and streets in the Phoenix metro region in the Valley.

The storm is commonly referred to as a haboob, from the Arabic word for an intense summer dust storm. Today’s storm hit in time to complicate the Friday afternoon commute.”

The video above is from a July 3, 2014, Haboob. In the video you can hear a person say that carwashes love these and he also states that these are how Valley Fever is spread.

 

SO LET’S THROW FUEL ON THE ISSUE–IS PHOENIX DOOMED?

Phoenix Sets Temperature Records As Arizona Gets Punished By Extreme Heat Wave.” This blog post states, 

“Phoenix set a record high temperature of 115°F at 1:32p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Then, 43 minutes later, it set another as the temperature gauge at Sky Harbor International crept up again to 116.

Yuma, Arizona tied its record high of 117 for this date, and nearby Tacna hit 120.

Arizona hasn’t just been suffering high maximum temperatures — it’s the high minimum temperatures too. Thursday set a record high minimum temperature of 93, up from the previous record of 90 set back in 2006. “We have not dropped below the 90 degree mark since Tuesday morning, if you can believe that,” said Dr. Matt Pace of Phoenix’s NBC 12 News…

Phoenix gets hotter than some more rural areas because of the urban heat island effect, which causes the dense and smooth structures in a city (think cement) to absorb more heat than natural landscape does, and allow for more convection and less turbulence than rougher rural areas do. Some in the city are turning to cool roofs and vegetation to cut this effect down a little.

When hikers take to the trails without adequate hydration, they need to be rescued, something that is happening more and more. Last year there were 153 mountain rescues for stranded hikers in total. Just through the first six and a half months of this year, firefighters have reported 133 such rescues, and two deaths. So many of them are caused by extreme temperatures that the Phoenix Fire Department asked residents to just stay indoors between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. through Thursday evening.”

Air conditioning raising night-time temperatures in the US. This Guardian article states,

 “Researchers in the US have identified a way in which city-dwellers are inadvertently stoking up the heat of the night – by installing air conditioners.

Because the cities are getting hotter as the climate changes, residents are increasingly investing in aircon systems − which discharge heat from offices and apartment blocks straight into the city air. And the vicious circle effect is that cities get still warmer, making air conditioning all the more attractive to residents.

According to scientists at Arizona State University, the air conditioning system is now having a measurable effect. During the days, the systems emit waste heat, but because the days are hot anyway, the difference is negligible. At night, heat from air conditioning systems now raises some urban temperatures by more than 1C, they report in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres

To cap this, cities are inevitably hotspots – and it’s not just because of global warming. The concentration of traffic, commuter systems, street and indoor lighting, central heating, light industry, tarmac, tiles, bricks, building activity and millions of people can raise temperatures as much as 5C above the surrounding countryside.

At present, 87% of US households have air conditioning, and the US – which is not one of the warmer nations – uses more electricity to keep cool than all the other countries of the world combined. To keep the people of Phoenix cool during periods of extreme heat, air conditioning systems can consume more than half of total electricity needs, which puts a strain on power grids.”

This blog post states,

“At night, the urban heat island effect is even more extreme, as paved surfaces continue to radiate heat. A city can be as much as 22°F hotter at night than a neighboring rural area…

Extreme heat is already the leading weather-related cause of death in the United States since records began in 1986 and Arizona has the highest rates of heat-related mortality in the country. The latest National Climate Assessment emphasized that heat waves are projected to increase in frequency, duration, and intensity as the climate changes…

The large amounts of heat that the researchers discovered being pumped out into Phoenix also represent a substantial waste of energy. The researchers point out that that heat could be captured and used to heat water, reducing electricity consumption on multiple fronts.”

So if Phoenix isn’t doomed–many of it’s residents are. 


 

 

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