Weather forecast predicts retailers will face more record-setting heat waves and storms
“Men argue. Nature acts.” Voltaire
A new research study published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change concludes that record-setting weather events such as the heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest this summer are going to happen more frequently and with greater severity in the years and decades to come.
Seattle hit an all-time high of 108°F during the recent heat wave, well above the previous record of 103°. Portland’s temps reached 116°, a full nine degrees over its previous high.
A new computing model by ETF Zurich in Switzerland has found that record-setting heat waves in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Australia may become two to seven times more likely between now and 2050. ETF also forecasts that record setting temperatures are going to happen between three and 21 times more frequently between 2051 and 2080. The research is alarming because it predicts old models being topped by similar increases as were recorded in the Pacific Northwest. Each proceeding event, on top of a previous record, will make for dangerous living and working conditions.
“The probability of record-shattering events is directly related to the speed of warming,” Erich Fischer, who led the research, told Axios. “This is yet another piece of the puzzle that demonstrates that, in order to reduce the risk of such record-shattering heat, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced very rapidly.”
ETF Zurich’s findings support those of other climatologists who have been warning about the increasing dangers associated with global climate change.
Retailers have begun to act with varying degrees of urgency in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the environmental impact of their operations, as well as that of suppliers.
The progress made, however, did not exempt any retail businesses located in the Pacific Northwest from the recent heatwave. Amazon.com gave warehouse workers ice scarves so they could continue working during the heatwave. Some workers left early due to the strain of working under the adverse conditions.
Extreme heat, cold and other natural events including storms and wildfires also put pressure on the electric grid. Kyri Baker, a professor of engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Recode that the system comes up short as a result of the combination of ”extreme temperatures, more electricity consumption, and aging infrastructure.”
- Increasing probability of record-shattering climate extremes – Nature Climate Change
- Study: Get ready for many more record-shattering heatwaves – Axios
- ‘Record-shattering’ heat becoming much more likely, says climate study – The Guardian
- Amazon gave out iced scarves to keep staff working in heatwave: Report – Business Insider
- This Week’s Heat Wave Is Pushing Businesses and Workers to Their Limit – Time
- The US power grid isn’t ready for climate change – Recode/Vox
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How significant a threat is climate change to the short, mid and long-term interests of retailers and their partners? Are retailers and their suppliers, generally speaking, being aggressive enough in addressing this challenge?