Environment Work Life

Working in the Heat

Image of Earth 7-6-15 from DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory)

Independence Day at the home, farm and auto supply store was a time to catch-up with organizing the warehouse, process expired pet food, reposition tall pallets of wood shavings, and generally clean up. The usual receiving activities slowed down as delivery drivers had the day off.

The store was pretty busy and comme d’habitude, management tried to feed us lunch: fried chicken with sides from a chain restaurant headquartered in Orange City.

I resisted. I also didn’t criticize because they were trying to be nice on the holiday we all had to work. We all should be nice when we can.

A couple of projects involved being outside in the blazing heat and humidity. I persisted and got the work done.

When working outside at home I get done early in the day to avoid mid day heat. I’ll work outside all day when the heat index is up to 90 degrees, but that’s the upper limit. With the heat and humidity we’ve been having that meant days indoors even though the sky was clear. It was weird.

According to this morning’s newspaper heat records are being set all over the world. In the Northern Hemisphere we’ve had the hottest weather ever recorded during the past week as a massive and intensive “heat dome” settled over the eastern United States.

In addition, the northeastern Atlantic Ocean is cooler than normal. Partly this means there may be less hurricane-strength storms this season. My worry is it’s being caused by melting of the Greenland ice sheet. If Greenland goes completely, the historical record shows the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) will slow down significantly or stop. That could mean disruption of the growing season in Europe and of their food supply. According to Scientific American, AMOC is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years.

“The grand northward progression of water along North America that moves heat from the tropics toward the Arctic has been sluggish,” wrote Andrea Thompson. “If that languidness continues and deepens, it could usher in drastic changes in sea level and weather around the ocean basin.”

I think of the blue marble and how all of us on earth are connected.

“No single record, in isolation, can be attributed to global warming,” wrote Jason Samenow in the Washington Post. “But collectively, these heat records are consistent with the kind of extremes we expect to see increase in a warming world.”

There are so many signals and indicators of climate disruption in the global environment that such disclaimers may serve some editorial purpose but are immediately useless. The world is warming and there are consequences.

It’s about more than working outside on a humid and hot day at the home, farm and auto supply store.