US will have ‘extreme heat belt’ by 2053, report says

According to a study by the First Street Foundation, some regions of the country could face temperatures of 51º in 2023

The United States is expected to experience an increase in extreme heat in the next 30 years, according to the report released by the First Street Foundation on Monday (15.Aug.2022). The study identifies a significant increase in temperatures in the country as early as 2022 and indicates that it should intensify by 2053. Here is the full text (41MB).

According to the report, it is expected that a “extreme heat belt” is formed in the region that covers the north of the States of Texas and Louisiana until Illinois, reaching also Indiana and Wisconsin. It is estimated that 107 million Americans across 1,023 counties in the region will experience temperatures above 51°C by 2053.

The report was made by combining measurements of land surface temperatures, atmospheric coverage, impermeable surfaces, land cover and water proximity to calculate current heat exposure and then is adjusted for future predicted emission scenarios. From these data it is possible to determine the number of days in which the increase in heat levels is expected.

The study warns that about 50 counties, with 8.1 million residents, will face this temperature in 2023, reaching the highest level of the National Weather Services heat index, the US meteorological agency.

A severe shift in temperatures is also estimated in Miami-Dade County, where the 7 hottest days of 2022 recorded temperatures of 41ºC. The study indicates that the county will experience 34 days with record temperatures by 2053.

The increase is also predicted for the entire country. The days with record heat will go, on average, from 7 days to 18 days.

Matthew Eby, CEO of the foundation responsible for the report, said the study warns of the extent of heat waves discussed earlier. Eby also said that it is necessary “to be prepared” to climate change in the coming years.

“We need to be prepared for the inevitable, that 1/4 of the country will soon fall into the ‘extreme heat belt’ with temperatures exceeding 51ºC and the results will be terrible”said the CEO in a statement released by the foundation.

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