This hurricane season is extremely active. Sally threatened us and now is dropping flooding rain on Alabama and Florida.
We are still trying to work on the effects of Category 4 Hurricane Laura. This includes 26 deaths, some due to heat and others due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Other potential storms are forming off the coast of Africa and in the Atlantic Ocean.
Wildfires are burning in California — some of the largest fires in California history. The intensity of these fires is the result of the increase of the temperature in the region, which led to extremely dry conditions in the forests. In addition to the deaths, the fires increase health problems such as lung and heart disease.
The temperature of the world is increasing. This includes Louisiana.
The Louisiana Department of Health talks about the rising temperatures in our state in its November 2019 edition of Louisiana Morbidity Report, entitled “Distribution of Extreme Heat Days across Louisiana.” This report says the temperature in Louisiana has been rising since 1995. The average low temperatures have been increasing more rapidly than the average high temperatures. The rate of heat-stress illness is high, according to this report.
Another Louisiana Morbidity Report piece entitled “Occupational Heat-Stress Illness Emergency Room Visits and Hospital Admissions” documents the heat-stress illnesses from 2010-2016. The highest rate of heat-stress illness hospital visits was 19.78 visits per 100,000 workers in 2011. There was moderate to strong correlation between temperature and heat-stress illness emergency department visits.
The cause(s)of these heat events and their consequences is in question. In my view, a major cause is global warming, which is in large measure due to our production of carbon dioxide and other atmospheric heat-trapping gasses. This is causing climate change.
We can help to reverse this temperature increase by decreasing our carbon footprint and talking to our leaders about supporting policies to accomplish this. By doing these things, we can participate in reducing the occurrence and severity of wildfires, the incidence of hurricanes and we can improve our health and well-being.
CLAUDE J. TELLIS