(KRON) – As many people across the Bay Area are dealing with extreme heat, climate specialists said heat waves like this one are going to continue to become more common.
“We are now in a climate where severe heat is both more intense and record-breaking heat is more frequent than compared to how it used to be decades ago,” said Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability Professor Noah Diffenbaugh.
As extreme heat closes down outdoor spaces and opens up cooling centers, Diffenbaugh said the climate we live in has changed.
“It really requires an acknowledgement and understanding that we’re already in a new climate and that it will continue to intensify as global warming continues in the coming decades,” said Diffenbaugh.
KRON On is streaming news live now
He said the amount of warming we’re experiencing is not uniform throughout the year.
“We’ve had about 2 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming. But this time of year, that we’re in right now where we tend to get some of the hottest days of the year that’s actually warming even more rapidly than for the annual warming overall,” added Diffenbaugh.
That is what leads to more wildfires. There is more dried vegetations and more extreme heat this time of year. In the last week, the California legislature passed bills to focus on clean energy, removing carbon from the atmosphere and end new oil drilling near communities.
While Diffenbaugh said climate change has already happened, these things can make a difference.
“What we do now will absolutely have benefits both now and in the future. California has been a leader in climate policy both for reducing the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions as well as to adapting to a changing climate,” said Diffenbaugh.
He said there are still some challenges when it comes to protecting people from dangerous heat and protecting the environment.
“Going forward in the future is how to provide the benefits of cooling that air conditioning provides without increasing global warming and climate change through increased emissions,” said Diffenbaugh.
He said scientists are still working on solving that problem. During the current Bay Area heat wave, state regulators have urged the public to conserve energy when and where they can.