New resource shows Charlottesville summers are only getting warmer

New resource shows Charlottesville summers are only getting warmer
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - If you think it’s hot now, just wait. A new predictive online tool from Climate Central says Charlottesville’s summers are trending warmer to the point where they will be as hot as Memphis by 2060, and Dallas by 2100.

The tool says Charlottesville’s average temperature will be up 7.8 degrees by 2100. Susan Kruse with the Community Climate Collaborative says the current average is 70.

“70, 78 seems like pretty pleasant weather, but the flip side of that is that it also means more days of extreme heat, in our most extreme,” C3 Executive Director Susan Kruse said.

“You’ll have greater numbers of people suffering from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration. One big problem of high temperatures is that you use up more water,” UVA Professor of Environmental Science Manuel Lerdau said. “It’s not just that the climate is changing, it’s the fact that it’s changing really fast, faster than it has ever changed in Earth’s history.”

Lerdau says the impacts of climate change are already present in the Commonwealth due to our carbon emissions, and droughts will start to hurt Virginia in the near future.

“We’re going to get out of the range where plants and animals can respond by either moving or evolving, Leradau said. “What makes the Blue Ridge so beautiful in the fall is in large part due to our maple trees. Maple trees are much more drought sensitive than a lot of other trees, so we’re going to lose maples over time.”

Lerdau says Virginia’s apple and tomato farmers will also feel the pain if they are not already feeling it.

“Additionally, in regards to ticks and Lyme disease, it used to be that all of the ticks died in the winter, but now our winters are warm enough that ticks are surviving,” said Leradau.

He says it will impact the mosquitos in Virginia too, with those mosquitoes often carrying diseases such as dengue fever. He says normally they cannot survive the Virginia winter, but warmer weather will change that.

On top of all of this, we’ll see the impact on our wallets too.

“Our energy bills are going to go up, and that puts our low income neighbors at even more risk of heat related illness. Many of those are seniors in our community, so it’s something we should all be concerned about,” Kruse said.

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