Things to know about dangerous rip currents and how swimmers caught in one can escape

Associated Press

Things to know about dangerous rip currents and how swimmers caught in one can escape

Curt Anderson – June 24, 2024

This image provided by NOAA, pictures a harmless green dye used to show a rip current. Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West coasts of the U.S., as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes. About 100 people drown from rip currents along U.S. beaches each year, according to the U.S. Lifesaving Association. (NOAA via AP)
A no swimming flag is visible as waves crash against the rocks at Haulover Beach Park, November 18, 2020, in Miami Beach, Florida. About 100 people drown from rip currents along U.S. beaches each year, according to the U.S. Lifesaving Association, and more than 80 percent of beach rescues annually involve rip currents. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP, File)
Beachgoers walk past warning flags and signs, Jan. 13, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla. About 100 people drown from rip currents along U.S. beaches each year, according to the U.S. Lifesaving Association, and more than 80 percent of beach rescues annually involve rip currents. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Stinging jellyfish, rays with their whip-like tails and sharks on the hunt are some ocean hazards that might typically worry beachgoers. But rip currents are the greatest danger and account for the most beach rescues every year.

Six people drowned in rip currents over a recent two-day period in Florida, including a couple vacationing on Hutchinson Island from Pennsylvania with their six children and three young men on a Panhandle holiday from Alabama, officials say.

About 100 people drown from rip currents along U.S. beaches each year, according to the United States Lifesaving Association. And more than 80 percent of beach rescues annually involve rip currents.

The National Weather Service lists 16 known deaths so far in 2024 from rip currents in U.S. waters, including the Florida fatalities as well as eight deaths in Puerto Rico and two in Texas.

Here are some things to know about rip currents:

What is a rip current?

Rip currents are narrow columns of water flowing rapidly away from the beach, like a swift stream within the ocean. They don’t pull swimmers under water, but can carry them out a fair distance from shore.

Low spots along the beach, or areas near jetties or piers, are often where rip currents form. They can be connected to stormy weather but also sometimes occur during sunny days. They can be hard to detect because the surface water often appears calm.

The current can flow as swiftly as eight feet per second (3.2 meters per second), faster than even a strong swimmer can overcome, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“If you’re caught in one and you try to swim straight in, you’re not going to be able to,” said Daniel Barnickel of Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue.

How can someone escape a rip current?

The most frequent advice from beach rescue teams and weather forecasters is to not panic and look for a chance to swim parallel to the shore until the swimmer is out of the rip current’s grip. It will eventually dissipate but might leave the swimmer out in deeper water.

It’s nearly impossible to fight the current directly. Many swimmers who get in trouble tire themselves out trying to get back to the beach, lifeguards say. If possible, it’s best to swim near a lifeguard station.

“Most of our rip current rescues happen outside the guarded areas because we’re not there to prevent it from happening,” Barnickel said.

What warning systems exist for rip currents?

Flags with different colors are used to warn beachgoers of various hazards.

Three flags warn of surf and rip current conditions. Red means a high hazard, yellow means a moderate threat and green means low danger. There’s also purple for dangerous sea life, like jellyfish, and double red when a beach is closed for any reason.

The National Weather Service posts rip current risks on its websites around the coasts and has developed a computer model that can predict when conditions are favorable for their formation up to six days in advance for the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Guam.

“Before this, forecasters were manually predicting rip currents on a large section of the ocean twice a day and only a day or two into the future. The earlier prediction has potential to substantially increase awareness and reduce drownings,” said Gregory Dusek, a NOAA scientist who developed the model, in a post on the agency’s website.

High risk warnings were posted for most Florida beaches last week, when the drownings occurred.

Should someone attempt a rip current rescue?

It can be dangerous to try to rescue someone caught in a rip current, officials say. Often the people trying to perform the rescue can get into trouble themselves.

It’s best to find a lifeguard, if there is one, or call 911 if a struggling swimmer is spotted. People on shore can also try to tell the person to swim parallel to shore.

“Never swim alone. And always make sure that there’s an adult. And make sure that you don’t overestimate your abilities. Know your limits,” Barnickel said.

Associated Press video journalist Cody Jackson in Palm Beach contributed to this story.

Extreme heat kills hundreds, millions more sweltering worldwide as summer begins

Reuters

Extreme heat kills hundreds, millions more sweltering worldwide as summer begins

Gloria Dickie – June 20, 2024

LONDON (Reuters) -Deadly heatwaves are scorching cities on four continents as the Northern Hemisphere marks the first day of summer, a sign that climate change may again help to fuel record-breaking heat that could surpass last summer as the warmest in 2,000 years.

Record temperatures in recent days are suspected to have caused hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths across Asia and Europe.

In Saudi Arabia, nearly two million Muslim pilgrims are finishing the haj at the Grand Mosque in Mecca this week. But hundreds have died during the journey amid temperatures above 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit), according to reports from foreign authorities.

Egyptian medical and security sources told Reuters on Thursday that at least 530 Egyptians had died while participating – up from 307 reported as of yesterday. Another 40 remain missing.

Countries around the Mediterranean have also endured another week of blistering high temperatures that have contributed to forest fires from Portugal to Greece and along the northern coast of Africa in Algeria, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth Observatory.

In Serbia, meteorologists forecast temperatures of around 40 C (104 F) this week as winds from North Africa propelled a hot front across the Balkans. Health authorities declared a red weather alert and advised people not to venture outdoors.

Belgrade’s emergency service said its doctors intervened 109 times overnight to treat people with heart and chronic health conditions.

In neighbouring Montenegro, where health authorities also warned people to stay in the shade until late afternoon, tens of thousands of tourists sought refreshment on the beaches along its Adriatic coast.

Europe this year has been contending with a spate of dead and missing tourists amid dangerous heat. A 55-year-old American was found dead on the Greek island of Mathraki, police said on Monday – the third such tourist death in a week.

A broad swath of the eastern U.S. was also wilting for a fourth consecutive day under a heat dome, a phenomenon that occurs when a strong, high-pressure system traps hot air over a region, preventing cool air from getting in and causing ground temperatures to remain high.

New York City opened emergency cooling centres in libraries, senior centers and other facilities. While the city’s schools were operating normally, a number of districts in the surrounding suburbs sent students home early to avoid the heat.

Meteorological authorities also issued an excessive heat warning for parts of the U.S. state of Arizona, including Phoenix, on Thursday, with temperatures expected to reach 45.5 C (114 F).

In the nearby state of New Mexico, a pair of fast-moving wildfires abetted by the blistering heat have killed two people, burned more than 23,000 acres and destroyed 500 homes, according to authorities. Heavy rains could help temper the blazes, but thunderstorms on Thursday were also causing flash flooding and complicating firefighting efforts.

All told, nearly 100 million Americans were under extreme heat advisories, watches and warnings on Thursday, according to the federal government’s National Integrated Heat Health Information System.

The brutal temperatures should begin easing in New England on Friday, the weather service said, but New York and the mid-Atlantic states will continue to endure near-record heat into the weekend.

COUNTING THE DEAD

India’s summer period lasts from March to May, when monsoons begin slowly sweeping across the country and breaking the heat.

But New Delhi on Wednesday registered its warmest night in at least 55 years, with India’s Safdarjung Observatory reporting a temperature of 35.2 C (95.4 F) at 1 a.m.

Temperatures normally drop at night, but scientists say climate change is causing nighttime temperatures to rise. In many parts of the world, nights are warming faster than days, according to a 2020 study by the University of Exeter.

New Delhi has clocked 38 consecutive days with maximum temperatures at or above 40 C (104 F) since May 14, according to weather department data.

An official at the Indian health ministry said on Wednesday there were more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases and at least 110 confirmed deaths between March 1 and June 18, when northwest and eastern India recorded twice the usual number of heatwave days in one of the country’s longest such spells.

Gaining accurate death tolls from heatwaves, however, is difficult. Most health authorities do not attribute deaths to heat, but rather the illnesses exacerbated by high temperatures, such as cardiovascular issues. Authorities therefore undercount heat-related deaths by a significant margin – typically overlooking thousands if not tens of thousands of deaths.

RECORD WARM TEMPERATURES

The heatwaves are occurring against a backdrop of 12 consecutive months that have ranked as the warmest on record in year-on-year comparisons, according to the European Union’s climate change monitoring service.

The World Meteorological Organization says there is an 86% percent chance that one of the next five years will eclipse 2023 to become the warmest on record.

While overall global temperatures have risen by nearly 1.3 C (2.3 F) above pre-industrial levels, climate change is fuelling more extreme temperature peaks – making heatwaves more common, more intense and longer-lasting.

On average globally, a heatwave that would have occurred once in 10 years in the pre-industrial climate will now occur 2.8 times over 10 years, and it will be 1.2 C warmer, according to an international team of scientists with the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group.

Scientists say heatwaves will continue to intensify if the world continues to unleash climate-warming emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

If the world hits 2 C (3.6 F) of global warming, heatwaves would on average occur 5.6 times in 10 years and be 2.6 C (4.7 F) hotter, according to the WWA.

(Reporting by Gloria Dickie in London; additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade, Pesha Magid in Riyadh, Shivam Patel in Delhi, Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in Cairo, Ali Withers in Copenhagen and Joseph Ax in New York; editing by Mark Heinrich and Josie Kao)

What is a heat dome? Is SC in a heat dome? What to know about ‘ring of fire’ thunderstorms.

Greenville News

What is a heat dome? Is SC in a heat dome? What to know about ‘ring of fire’ thunderstorms.

Nina Tran, Greenville News – June 20, 2024

A heat wave is a period of unusually high temperatures over a region. As temperatures cook on the Midwest and Northeastern coast, the term “heat dome” has been used to describe the hot weather, leaving many questions to be answered.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a hazardous weather outlook from Friday, June 21 through Wednesday, June 26 for Northeast Georgia, the North Carolina foothills and Piedmont, and Upstate South Carolina.

High temperatures are forecast to reach the mid 90s Saturday through Monday, with heat indices expected to reach 100 to 104 degrees. Those who are sensitive to the heat will want to decrease their time spent outdoors to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Here’s what to know about the heat dome and how you and your family can stay safe in it.

What is a heat dome?

Per AccuWeather, the term “heat dome” is used to describe a sprawling area of high pressure promoting hot and dry conditions for days or weeks at a time. It is similar to a balloon in the way it expands and contracts as the day goes on. When a certain area is inside it, it can feel very warm. A heat dome can interfere with the production of clouds, leading to an increase in sunlight and high temperatures. In turn, the cooling demand will increase, which may boost the strain on a region’s power grid. Drought conditions may also develop due to extended dry and hot spells.

More: It’s getting hot out: Here are the best settings for your air conditioner in South Carolina

What are ‘ring of fire’ thunderstorms?

Since heat domes act as large, immovable bubbles, moisture is forced up and over the heat bubble, according to AccuWeather. This causes “ring of fire” thunderstorms to form along the fringes of heat, which may bring severe weather into the area.

“Let’s say, for example, you had a big high pressure over the Southern Plains, Texas, or Oklahoma. What will happen is, on the northern fringes of higher pressure, you’ll get these periods of thunderstorms that develop, maybe over the Central Plains. It will move around the periphery of that high pressure, which tends to be in kind of a circular shape, hence the ring terminology to it.” said Thomas Winesett with the NWS at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

Ring of fire features are currently favorable for the Midwest and parts of the Ohio Valley due to centered high pressure activity in both areas. As the heat dome ensues, will South Carolina also get a chance for severe weather?

“That’s not to say we can’t get some thunderstorms, but it won’t be the true ring of fire type storms maybe until later, later next week if that high pressure shifts back off to the west or Texas, New Mexico.” Winesett said. “So when that happens, that might allow us to get into a more active pattern where we see those ring of fire type storms maybe coming more out of the Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley and towards the Appalachia.”

People leave the beach beach at Phipps Ocean Park as a thunderstorm approaches July 7, 2023 in Palm Beach. The national weather service issued a heat advisory for Palm Beach County with a high near 94 degrees and heat index from 108 to 112.
People leave the beach beach at Phipps Ocean Park as a thunderstorm approaches July 7, 2023 in Palm Beach. The national weather service issued a heat advisory for Palm Beach County with a high near 94 degrees and heat index from 108 to 112.
When will the heat dome end?

Doug Outlaw with the NWS at GSP said he hopes current weather conditions do not stick around for too much longer, especially with the reestablishment of high temperatures next weekend. Next Friday’s heat will bump down a few degrees before temperatures continue to soar. The timing of a cool down period remains uncertain.

“It is typical to have heat waves on and off during the summer, but we hope that the weather doesn’t get stuck and we end up way up in the 90s every day for weeks,” he said. “But we’ve got to be prepared for the possibility of something like that.”

Outlaw forecast the following high temperatures for Greenville heading into next week:

∎ Friday, June 21: 91 degrees

∎ Saturday, June 22: 93 degrees

∎ Sunday, June 23: 94 degrees

∎ Monday, June 24: 95 degrees

∎ Tuesday, June 25: 95 degrees

∎ Wednesday, June 26: 96 degrees

∎ Thursday, June 27: 95 degrees

A child stands at a fountain in Georgetown Waterfront Park amid a heat wave in Washington, June 19, 2024.
A child stands at a fountain in Georgetown Waterfront Park amid a heat wave in Washington, June 19, 2024.
Types of heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service

The NWS issues several types of heat advisories depending on severity. The different types are as follows:

∎ Excessive heat warning: This warning is issued 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. When the maximum heat index temperature is expected to reach 105 or higher for at least two days and the nighttime temperature will not drop below 75, the warning is issued. This rule may vary across the country, especially for areas not used to extreme heat conditions. Precautions should be taken immediately during extreme conditions to prevent serious illness and even death.

∎ Excessive heat watch: A watch is issued when an excessive heat event is favorable within the next 24 to 72 hours. When the risk of a heat wave has increased but the occurrence and timing is uncertain, a watch is issued.

∎ Heat advisory: An advisory is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. When the maximum heat index temperature is anticipated to be 100 degrees or higher for at least two days and the nighttime temperature will not drop below 75 degrees, an advisory is issued. This rule may vary across the country, especially for areas not used to extreme heat conditions. Precautions should be taken immediately during extreme conditions to prevent serious illness and even death.

∎ Excessive heat outlook: An outlook is issued when there is a potential risk for an excessive heat event within the next 3-7 days, providing information for those who need considerable lead-time to prepare for the event.

People cool off at the lakefront as temperatures climbed above 90 degrees Fahrenheit on June 19, 2024 in Chicago. A heat wave has brought record warm temperatures to much of the Midwest and Northeast areas of the country this week.
People cool off at the lakefront as temperatures climbed above 90 degrees Fahrenheit on June 19, 2024 in Chicago. A heat wave has brought record warm temperatures to much of the Midwest and Northeast areas of the country this week.
High temperatures forecast across US Midwest, Northeast

These are the high temperatures forecast for several Midwest and Northeast cities from Juneteenth and June 20. Temperatures will dip between this week and early next week, according to a USA TODAY story:

∎ Manchester, New Hampshire: 97, 99. Dropping to 86 by June 24.

∎ Albany, New York: 96, 97. Dropping to 86 by June 24.

∎ Detroit, Michigan: 95, 93. Dropping to 83 by June 24.

∎ Toledo, Ohio: 94, 96. Dropping to 84 by June 24.

∎ Indianapolis, Indiana: 92, 95. Jumping to 96 by Saturday, June 22 before dropping to 97 on June 24.

∎ Caribou, Maine: 96, 95. Dropping to 76 by June 24.

∎ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 94, 95. Jumping to 100 by Friday, June 21 before dropping to 90 on June 24.

∎ Boston, Massachusetts: 95, 97. Dropping to 85 by June 24.

∎ Washington, D.C.: 90, 92. Jumping to 98 by Saturday June 22 before dropping slightly to 93 on June 24.

Mayflower Beach in Dennis fills up on a hot weekday morning, June 20, 2024, as beachgoers seek relief from the heat. The Town of Dennis has announced a new plan to deal with beach crowding there on July 4. 
Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times
Mayflower Beach in Dennis fills up on a hot weekday morning, June 20, 2024, as beachgoers seek relief from the heat. The Town of Dennis has announced a new plan to deal with beach crowding there on July 4. Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times
How to prepare for the heat

Tips from NOAA:

∎ Make sure the air conditioner is functioning properly. If your home does not have air conditioning or loses power, visit a designated cooling shelter or other air-conditioned location such as the mall or public library.

∎ Check on friends, families, neighbors, and pets to ensure they are safe in the heat. It is important to check on those who live alone or do not have air conditioning.

∎ Never leave children, dependents, or pets unattended in vehicles. The sun can heat the inside of the car to deadly temperatures in minutes.

∎ Wear loose clothing that is light-colored and covers the skin.

∎ Hydrate with water throughout the day, avoiding caffeine and sugary beverages.

∎ Set aside one gallon of drinking water per person a day in case of a power outage.

∎ Keep out of the sun and stay indoors on the lowest level. Curtains and shades should be closed.

∎ Immerse yourself in a cool bath or shower. Cooling your feet off in water can also help.

∎ If temperatures are cool at night, let the cool air in by opening windows.

∎ If you are outside, stay in the shade. Apply sunblock and wear a wide-brimmed hat before going outside.

∎ To avoid heat exhaustion, do not engage in strenuous activities. Use a buddy system and take breaks in the shade when working in extreme heat.

∎ For critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS), tune into NOAA Weather Radio.

For more heat safety information, visit weather.gov/heat or heat.gov.

Nina Tran covers trending topics for The Greenville News. Reach her via email at ntran@gannett.com

Why this week’s heat wave could be next summer’s normal

The Hill

Why this week’s heat wave could be next summer’s normal

Zack Budryk – June 20, 2024

The extreme heat slamming the eastern U.S. this week may be a sign of things to come as monthly temperature records continue to give way.

A broad swath of the Midwest and eastern U.S. are currently under a heat dome, caused by a high-pressure system in the Earth’s upper atmosphere that compresses the air beneath it, making it expand into a dome shape.

Research published in March in the journal Science Advances found that since 1979, as climate change has intensified, heat waves have gotten hotter and more commonplace, and the physical area covered by heat domes has expanded as well. They’ve also slowed down by about 20 percent, leaving the people in their paths to contend with their effects longer.

“Every summer we get heat waves, and heat waves are getting more extreme and they’re getting more frequent and they’re lasting longer,” said Jonathan Overpeck, the Samuel A. Graham dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan.

In this specific heatwave, the system of warmth is moving north and east, but it’s part of a broader, more ominous pattern in which heat waves start from a warmer background, said Richard Rood, professor emeritus of climate and space science and engineering at the University of Michigan.

“The oceans have been extraordinarily warm all year, the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico in particular,” he said. “So when summer comes and you start seeing heat waves, you’re starting from a higher temperature background.”

As heat accumulates, Rood told The Hill, one consequence is higher temperatures earlier in the year, such as this week’s heat, which began before the official start of the summer Thursday but in earlier years might be more typical of July or August.

The extreme heat patterns began in the Midwest earlier this week, and are expected to extend into the Northeast over the rest of the week. More than 76 million people were under some form of heat advisory Tuesday morning in the U.S., and about twice that number faced temperatures of more than 90 degrees. The National Weather Service projects record-breaking heat in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia as well as parts of New England this week.

Much like the heat waves of previous years in places like Europe and the Pacific Northwest, the heat is hitting regions that have little experience with such extremes, like northern New England. This means in many cases individuals are unprepared, as is broader community infrastructure of the kind that exists in historically hotter regions.

Both personal air conditioning and resources like cooling centers are “still inadequate in a lot of areas in the U.S. where access to air conditioning hasn’t been historically needed,” said Amy Bailey, director of climate resilience and sustainability at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

“Our infrastructure, our institutions and daily practices aren’t well-suited for these long stretches of extreme heat, and the longer it takes us to catch up the more lives are on the line,” Bailey added.

It also demonstrates “the criticality of having a grid that is resistant to extreme weather,” she added.

Overpeck said much of the extreme heat is attributable to the impact of climate change, but El Niño has also been a factor, and “we expect — hope might be a better word — that temperatures might start to ameliorate.”

The most recent El Niño, a climate phenomenon that causes unusually warm surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, began last June, which was also the warmest June on record.

The globe saw its overall hottest summer on record the same year and recently concluded a 12-month period in which every month set a temperature record.

“We’re really looking at the next few months to tell us whether something dramatic is surprising us in the global temperatures,” Overpeck said. “If it starts cooling off, [and] it hasn’t started to do that yet, we can ascribe [these] more unusual temperatures to the El Niño. If it keeps rocketing up, we’ll have to think about why climate change [is] accelerating.”

He noted that surface warming of oceans, where the majority of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases goes, has also accelerated lately.

While local authorities have urged people in affected areas to stay inside where possible, that is not an option for those who work outdoors or the homeless population of major metropolitan areas, Overpeck noted.

The temperatures of this week are likely to subside somewhat while remaining high throughout the summer, but ultimately they may be a vision of what summers look like in the longer term, Rood said. This week is almost certainly not a “one-off event,” he added. “We are probably going to see a series of events this summer.”

“I wouldn’t call it a new normal — I would call it perhaps a vision of 10, 20, 30 years,” he said. If the trend continues, he added, the extremes of this week won’t seem extraordinary years from now.

“You’re getting a glimpse into the future, warmer world,” he said.

Extreme heat, wildfires and climate change are causing Canadians to feel heightened sense of eco anxiety: ‘How are we going to live?’

Yahoo! Style

Extreme heat, wildfires and climate change are causing Canadians to feel heightened sense of eco anxiety: ‘How are we going to live?’

Climate anxiety, ecological grief and solastalgia are terms used to describe the emotional distress caused by environmental changes.

Pia Araneta – June 19, 2024

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

FORT NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA - MAY 14: Smoke rises after fire erupts in Western Canada on May 14, 2024. Wildfires in Western Canada prompted thousands to flee their homes, while 66,000 were on standby to evacuate as a fast-moving blaze threatened another community Saturday. A growing wildfire moved relentlessly toward Fort Nelson, British Columbia (B.C.), resulting in officials ordering more than 3,000 to leave their homes in Fort Nelson and nearby Fort Nelson First Nation.Within five hours, the fire had grown to 8 square kilometers. (3 square miles) from a modest half square kilometer.Tinder dry conditions and flames fanned by powerful winds caused the wildfire to spread and prompted the evacuation order, which was issued at 7.30 p.m. (Photo by Cheyenne Berreault/Anadolu via Getty Images) climate fears
As wildfires continue to burn across the country, Canadians are sharing their climate fears. (Photo by Cheyenne Berreault/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Annie Malik, a 33-year-old living in London, Ont., often feels anxious or overwhelmed by the environmental state of the planet: Heatwaves in Pakistan — where she’s from — heat warnings and record-breaking temperatures in the summer coupled with mild winters in Canada and air pollution from wildfires that are becoming more common during the summer months.

“What is going to happen to the world? If the planet is inhabitable, how are we going to live?” said Malik.

Her family still resides in Pakistan, where air conditioning units are a luxury amid soaring temperatures and a spike in heat-related illnesses.

“There’s no way I can go back during the summers because I can’t handle the heat…People are dying every day in the summer,” said Malik, adding that she worries for her family.

Annie Malik, a 33-year-old living in London, Ont. said her biggest worry around climate change is her family in Pakistan. She can no longer visit during the hot summer months and she thinks about her family's survival. (Image provided by Annie Malik)
Annie Malik, a 33-year-old living in London, Ont. said her biggest worry around climate change is her family in Pakistan. She can no longer visit during the hot summer months and she thinks about her family’s survival. (Image provided by Annie Malik)

Malik’s sentiments are echoed by many Canadians who are feeling eco-anxious, or emotional from the effects of climate change, especially since last year’s record-breaking wildfires. According to a 2023 survey by Unite For Change, 75 per cent of Canadians are experiencing anxiety about climate change and its impacts.

If the planet is inhabitable, how are we going to live?Annie Malik

Yahoo Canada recently spoke to Canadians about their eco-anxiety, as well as a mental health expert on how to cope.


What is climate anxiety?

Climate anxietyecological grief and solastalgia are all similar terms to describe the emotional distress caused by environmental changes. The American Psychological Association defines it as “a chronic fear of environmental doom” and recognizes it as a legitimate increasing mental health concern.

Cree Lambeck, clinical director at Cherry Tree Counselling, offers eco-counselling services and said some clients can present with both physical and mental health symptoms from ecological issues. For example, someone might struggle with asthma and breathing issues from air pollution. “Other times a person can feel stress or really powerless around climate change,” said Lambeck.


What are the signs & symptoms of climate anxiety?

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, symptoms of eco-anxiety can include:

  • Feelings of depression, anxiety or panic
  • Grief and sadness over the loss of natural environments
  • Existential dread
  • Guilt related to your carbon footprint
  • Anger or frustration toward government officials
  • Obsessive thoughts about the climate

How to cope with climate anxiety

Heather Mak is a 42-year-old from Toronto who said she’s felt eco-anxious for well over a decade, which “can feel overwhelming.”

Mak transitioned out of a marketing career into the sustainability field, hoping she could take control of some of her anxieties. She’s currently in corporate sustainability, working with large businesses on environmental and social issues, and she runs a nonprofit called Diversity in Sustainability.

Heather Mak is a 42-year-old living in Toronto and she changed careers from marketing to sustainability. Mak said taking action in her work helps her cope with her eco-anxiety, but a side effect is that she can get burnt out from ongoing crises. (Image provided by Heather Mak)
Heather Mak is a 42-year-old living in Toronto and she changed careers from marketing to sustainability. Mak said taking action in her work helps her cope with her eco-anxiety, but a side effect is that she can get burnt out from ongoing crises. (Image provided by Heather Mak)

“How I try to deal with it is by taking action,” she said. “But then again, when you start working in this field, it’s almost like you can never sleep — because the scope of the issue just keeps getting bigger.”

How I try to deal with it is by taking action. Heather Mak

Last year, Mak heard about the Climate Psychology Alliance and started seeing a climate-aware psychologist to help her process some of her feelings from eco-anxiety, as well as burnout from her work.

As recommended by her psychologist, Mak tries to immerse herself in nature as much as possible to keep herself grounded. “There’s also groups called climate cafes,” said Mak. “I think just chatting with others who are going through the same thing really helps.”

Other times, Mak will channel her energy into writing letters to elected officials.


Set boundaries and concrete strategies: Expert

At Cherry Tree Counselling, Lambeck offers clients “walk and talk ecotherapy.” The sessions can be in-person or over the phone and both the therapist and client will chat outdoors.

Lambeck said many people access eco-counselling services, from adolescents to seniors. “People can experience [climate anxiety] throughout their lifespan and it can present in different ways — like with parenting,” said Lambeck. Some research has found that young adults are even hesitant to have kids due to climate change. “There’s a lot of existential worry associated with global crises.”

It’s important to take breaks and set those boundaries and practice self-care and find social support in those times.Cree Lambeck, clinical director at Cherry Tree Counselling

Considering environmental issues can impact many prongs in someone’s life, like family planning or lifestyle choices, Lambeck said she tries to offer clients practical tools and concrete strategies that might help tackle some of the turmoil. For instance, she might help target some ways a person can reduce their carbon footprint, identify some of their core values, or try to find opportunities or sustainable initiatives the person might be able to participate in.

“For some people, this can help provide a sense of empowerment or control if they’re feeling helpless. Engaging in meaning-focused coping and finding purpose,” Lambeck said.

Another strategy is to focus on boundary setting or limit the exposure of distressing news. “What is the balance between staying informed or excess consumption?” Lambeck said. Images of burning forests, oil spills and floods are plentiful and distressing and can exacerbate our eco-anxiety. “So it’s important to take breaks and set those boundaries and practice self-care and find social support in those times,” she adds.

How extreme heat affects the body — and who’s most at risk

Yahoo! Life

How extreme heat affects the body — and who’s most at risk

Kate Murphy, Producer – June 18, 2024

Pittsburghers flock to the Water Steps at the Riverfront Park along the Allegheny River
People enjoying Riverfront Park in Pittsburgh. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Nearly 77 million Americans across the Midwest and Northeast are under heat alerts this week, with the National Weather Service warning of dangerously hot temperatures as high as the triple digits in many areas.

In Phoenix, temperatures are forecast to reach 113 degrees on Thursday — the first day of summer — followed by 115 degrees on Friday.

Extreme heat like this can be lethal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heat-related deaths in the U.S. have been increasing over the past few years, with about 1,600 in 2021; 1,700 in 2022, and 2,300 in 2023, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

As temperatures are expected to scorch parts of the U.S. this week, here’s some important info on what extreme heat can do to the body, who is most at risk and heat-related illnesses to watch out for:

What happens to your body in extreme heat

A normal human’s body temperature ranges from 97°F-99°F. The body’s temperature needs to be regulated in order for internal organs to function properly. When your brain senses a change in body temperature, either hot or cold, it tries to help your body readjust.

When the body’s temperature is too hot, one of the most common ways the body cools itself is through sweat, which then evaporates in dry heat, thus cooling the body.

The other way the body cools itself is by moving warmer blood away from the internal organs to capillaries at the surface of the skin. That’s why people look flushed when their body temperature is elevated.

Heat-related illnesses can set in when the air temperature is hotter than the skin’s temperature, around 90°F, because it’s more difficult for your body to cool itself. When there’s extreme heat combined with humidity, sweat doesn’t evaporate as easily. That means your body’s temperature rises even higher, according to the Mayo Clinic.

👶 Who is most vulnerable to extreme heat?

According to the National Institute of Health and the CDC, the following groups are most at risk in extreme heat:

  • Children: The way their bodies regulate internal body temperatures can make them overwhelmed more quickly.
  • Older adults: They’re more likely to have a chronic medical condition or to be taking medications that affects the body’s response to heat.
  • People with chronic medical conditions: They’re less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature.
  • Pregnant people: Their bodies must work harder to cool down not only their body, but the developing baby’s as well.
  • People experiencing homelessness: Those unsheltered or experiencing housing insecurity are more exposed to extreme heat.
  • Athletes and outdoor workers: Those who exercise or do strenuous work outside in extreme heat are more likely to become dehydrated and develop a heat-related illness
  • Pets: They can develop heat-related illnesses too.

To find out information on cooling centers in your state, the National Center for Health Housing provides a list.

Heat-related illness symptoms to watch out for:

The Centers for Disease Control provides a guide for what to watch for and what to do to prevent heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash.

What a foolish psycho’: Trump’s Father’s Day rant slammed by critics — Biden among them

What a foolish psycho’: Trump’s Father’s Day rant slammed by critics — Biden among them

Kathleen Culliton – June 16, 2024

'What a foolish psycho': Trump's Father's Day rant slammed by critics — Biden among them
Former President Donald Trump speaks during the Alabama Republican Party’s 2023 Summer meeting at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel on Aug. 4, 2023, in Montgomery, Ala. Trump’s appearance in Alabama comes one day after he was arraigned on federal charges in 
 Washington, D.C.
 D.C.
 for his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Julie Bennett/Getty Images

It’s not an American holiday until former President Donald Trump issues his all-caps complaint and is immediately, and ruthlessly, mocked.

On Father’s Day, Trump decided to celebrate his status as family patriarch with a lengthy tirade against “radical left degenerates” the former president, recently convicted on criminal charges, accused of “trying to influence” the judicial system against him.

President Joe Biden’s campaign was quick to respond Sunday evening with a succinct synopsis.

“Convicted felon Trump posts a deranged, all caps ‘Father’s Day’ message attacking the judicial system and promising revenge and retribution against those who don’t support him,” his campaign tweet reads.

ALSO READ: ‘Harm Democrats’: Republican lawmakers practically giddy about Trump prison silver lining

Hours earlier, Trump — who has a history of marking holidays by posting angry rants against his foes — issued the following screed on Truth Social:

“HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL, INCLUDING THE RADICAL LEFT DEGENERATES THAT ARE RAPIDLY BRINGING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA INTO THIRD WORLD NATION STATUS WITH THEIR MANY ATTEMPTS AT TRYING TO INFLUENCE OUR SACRED COURT SYSTEM INTO BREAKING TO THEIR VERY SICK AND DANGEROUS WILL,” he wrote.

ALSO READ: Republican dodo birds have a death wish for us all

“WE NEED STRENGTH AND LOYALTY TO OUR COUNTRY, AND ITS WONDERFUL CONSTITUTION. EVERYTHING WILL BE ON FULL DISPLAY COME NOVEMBER 5TH, 2024 – THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”

The Biden-Harris campaign was not the only voice raising a sly eyebrow at Trump’s comment, quickly flooded with dozens of messages of frustration, amusement and rage.

“He always has the worst holiday greetings of anyone I know,” wrote X user Franklin.

“Such a narcissistic, small man,” added Dawn Young-McDaniel.

“Yep, he is consistent in only one manner,” replied Trish Davis, “Telling us what a foolish psycho he aspires to be.”

Scientists Found Microplastics in Every Human Semen Sample They Examined

Futurism

Scientists Found Microplastics in Every Human Semen Sample They Examined

Victor Tangermann – June 11, 2024

A team of researchers has found microplastics in all 40 semen samples they examined from healthy men, highlighting the urgent need to study how these tiny particles could affect human reproduction.

In a paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, researchers from a number of Chinese institutions identified eight different polymers in the samples, with polystyrene being the most prevalent.

As The Guardian reports, it’s only the latest in a string of studies that have equally found microplastics in semen.

While their effect on reproduction and human health still isn’t entirely understood, researchers have also been documenting a global decline in sperm count and other issues plaguing male fertility, linking them to a number of environmental and lifestyle factors.

Other studies have found that microplastics can reduce sperm count in mice and disrupt the human endocrine system.

It’s also yet another stark reminder of how ubiquitous microplastics have become in the world. They’ve been found clogging human arteries, in bottled waterinside clouds, and even in a cave that was sealed off from all humans.

Given the latest research, these tiny pollutants could even have troubling consequences for our ability to reproduce.

“As emerging research increasingly implicates microplastic exposure as a potential factor impacting human health, understanding the extent of human contamination and its relation to reproductive outcomes is imperative,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

Studies involving mice “demonstrate a significant decrease in viable sperm count and an uptick in sperm deformities, indicating that microplastic exposure may pose a chronic, cumulative risk to male reproductive health,” they added.

different study published in the journal Toxicological Sciences last month found microplastics in all samples of 47 canine and 23 human testicles.

“At the beginning, I doubted whether microplastics could penetrate the reproductive system,” coauthor and University of New Mexico professor Xiaozhong Yu told The Guardian at the time. “When I first received the results for dogs I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I received the results for humans.”

Worse yet, the samples dated back to 2016, suggesting that the “impact on the younger generation might be more concerning,” given the particles’ growing prevalence, Yu added.

As a result, experts are calling for action to reduce the amount of plastic being produced worldwide, much of which will end up polluting the environment and our bodies.

“In particular, there is a need for action to avoid additional permanent damage to the planet and the human body,” University of Rome’s Luigi Montano, who coauthored a separate study that found microplastics in human semen, told The Guardian.

“If microplastic pollution impacts the critical reproductive process, as evidenced in particular by the decline in seminal quality recorded in recent decades globally, it may prove to be [even worse] for our species in the not too distant future,” he added.

More on microplastics: Whoever Figures Out How to Remove Microplastics From the Human Body Is Going to Make a Fortune

Macron’s election call unsettles Paris Olympics build-up

AFP

Macron’s election call unsettles Paris Olympics build-up

Cyril Touaux – June 10, 2024

France will hold snap elections just weeks before the Paris Olympics (Ludovic MARIN)
France will hold snap elections just weeks before the Paris Olympics (Ludovic MARIN)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Monday described the prospect of French parliamentary elections just weeks before the start of the Paris Olympics as “extremely unsettling”, while the International Olympic Committee played down any direct impact on the event.

“Like a lot of people I was stunned to hear the president decide to do a dissolution (of parliament),” Hidalgo said of Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call snap parliamentary elections on Sunday.

The surprise announcement came after hugely disappointing European parliament election results for the centrist president which Hidalgo said meant the president “could not continue as before”.

“But all the same, a dissolution just before the Games, it’s really something that is extremely unsettling,” the 64-year-old Socialist, a domestic political rival of the president, added during a visit to a Paris school.

The two-round parliamentary elections have been called for June 30 and July 7, with the Paris Olympics set to begin less than three weeks later on July 26.

The vote could lead to political instability in the event of another hung parliament in which no party wins a majority, or a seismic change if the far-right National Rally party of Marine Le Pen emerges as the biggest party nationally.

Rumours in Paris had previously suggested Macron might dissolve parliament after the Games, with the 46-year-old head of state possibly eyeing a bounce in the polls if the first Games in France in 100 years were deemed a success.

Hidalgo stressed that from an operational perspective the elections would not affect the Olympics, a message echoed by the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, who was with her during the school visit.

“I think that all the work of installing, of preparing the Games, the infrastructure, is behind us and what remains is to welcome the entire world and we will do it with the joy that we have to host these Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris,” Hidalgo said.

Bach said the elections are “a democratic process which will not disturb the Olympics”.

“France is used to doing elections and they are going to do them once again. We will have a new government and a new parliament and everyone is going to support the Olympics,” Bach said.

– Divided country –

The Paris Olympics begin with an unprecedented open-air ceremony on the river Seine on July 26, the first time the opening festivities for a Summer Olympics have taken place outside the main stadium.

Organisers have consistently talked up the ambitions of their vision, promising “iconic” Games that will see the world’s biggest sports event play out against the historic backdrop of the City of Light.

Worries so far had focused on security arrangements for the opening ceremony, and whether the river Seine would be cleaned up in time to hold the open-water swimming events and triathlon as expected.

Repeated strike threats from trade unions have also cast a shadow over preparations, as did public feuding over the choice of music for the opening ceremony and the official poster — indicators of France’s starkly divided political class.

Those divisions were illustrated during Sunday’s European elections, in which anti-immigration and far-right parties won almost 40 percent of the vote, inflicting heavy defeat on Macron’s centrist allies.

The snap parliamentary elections raise question marks over the government that will be in place at the time of the Olympics, with ministers such as transport and interior set to play key roles in ensuring the smooth functioning and safety of the event.

The two-stage election will also mobilise hundreds of thousands of security forces, further straining resources.

“For the preparations, the installations are ready, accreditations have been sent, plans put in place for transport: everything is primed, it remains only to be put in place,” Jean-Loup Chappelet, an Olympics expert at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, told AFP.

He also played down the impact of any personnel changes in the cabinet.

“Nothing will change between now and July 8 in the preparations of the Games and afterwards it will be absolutely too late to change anything,” he added.

David Roizen, an Olympics expert at the left-leading Jean Jaures Foundation think-tank in Paris, said the political turmoil would put an end to a “largely successful” phase for organisers, including the ongoing Olympic torch relay.

“It risks ending the positive dynamic, meaning that people only talk about the Olympics from a security perspective,” he told AFP.

These are the 10 most bacteria-polluted beaches in America, group says

Fox Weather

These are the 10 most bacteria-polluted beaches in America, group says

Hillary Andrews – June 9, 2024

One of nation's most polluted beaches making California residents sick

The Surfrider Foundation just released its list of the top 10 most bacteria-polluted beaches in America during 2023. At two beaches, every sample taken throughout the year exceeded state health standards.

The organization set up the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) which sampled water at 567 different sites across beaches, oceans, estuaries and freshwater creeks throughout the U.S. They collected 9,538 samples. About 22% of the samples showed high bacteria levels and 64% of the almost 600 beaches monitored didn’t pass state health standards at least once.

According to the report, funding is leading to a reduction in the number of beaches being monitored by government agencies on a regular basis.

“Chronic underfunding has forced states to prioritize which beaches to monitor, reduce sampling frequency, and limit beach seasons in order to stretch their federal grant dollars as far as possible,” stated the Surfrider’s Clean Water Report 2023.

“Most chapter water testing programs are designed to fill in the gaps and extend the coverage of state and local agency beach monitoring programs,” the report continued. “Surfrider volunteers are not only testing beaches that are not covered by agencies, but they are also monitoring potential sources of pollution, such as stormwater outlets, rivers, and creeks that discharge onto our beaches.”

Some beaches only monitor in the summer. About 67% of the samples showed low bacteria levels and 11% showed medium levels.

“The majority of the water samples that failed to meet health standards were collected from freshwater sources, such as rivers, creeks, and marshes, which are influenced by storm water runoff, or at beaches near these outlets,” wrote Surfrider. “These results are consistent with national trends, which show that storm water runoff is the number one cause of beach closures and swimming advisories in the U.S.

FECAL MATTER POSED RISK AT 90% OF TEXAS BEACHES LAST YEAR, REPORT SAYS. HERE’S HOW TO TRACK IT

Stormwater washes chemicals and other pollutants from streets and lawns into local waterways and down to the beach, the group said. Stormwater and flooding after heavy rain can also cause wastewater systems, like cesspools, septic systems and sewers, to fail and send untreated sewage into rivers, streams, oceans and lakes.

“Nearly 10 trillion gallons of untreated stormwater runoff flow into U.S. waterways every year, carrying a cocktail of pollutants including road dust, oil, animal waste, fertilizers, and other chemicals,” Surfrider wrote. “Sewage can contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites that make people sick with gastrointestinal symptoms, rashes, skin and eye infections, flu-like symptoms, and worse.”

Both Imperial Beach in San Diego County, California, and Nawiliwili Stream at Kalapaki Bay in LihueHawaii, on the island of Kauai, failed every test. That means that bacterial levels were so high, the state deems the beach unsafe for swimming.

HOW TO TRACK YOUR BEACH’S WATER QUALITY

Authorities have closed Imperial Beach for 930 days, according to local media. However, closing the beach to swimming still won’t keep everyone safe.

“These closures don’t fully prevent people from getting sick as some toxins are aerosolizing and contaminating the air in Imperial Beach and other nearby border communities,” said Surfrider. “People are getting sick just by breathing the air as they go to work, school, and even trying to enjoy their own backyards.”

South Bay Urgent Care in Imperial Beach told FOX 5 San Diego that in the past year the number of patients needing breathing treatments grew by 140%.

RAINWATER POLLUTED BY FOREVER CHEMICALS WORLDWIDE, STUDY SAYS

File: A dog competes during the 5th annual Loews Coronado bay resort surf dog competition in Imperial Beach, south of San Diego, California on May 22, 2010.
File: A dog competes during the 5th annual Loews Coronado bay resort surf dog competition in Imperial Beach, south of San Diego, California on May 22, 2010.

“Every day is another patient getting sick, and we don’t want that anymore. We see newborns come in. It’s tough for people over 100,” Dr. Mathew Dickson said. “They’re coughing, eyes are running, eyes are watering, and they’re wheezing a lot.”

He is on a task force researching long-term effects of pollution exposure.

The Scripps Institute of Oceanography linked 34,000 illnesses to Imperial Beach pollution in 2017.

“Coastal waters along Tijuana, Mexico, and Imperial Beach, USA, are frequently polluted by millions of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater runoff,” the research stated. “Entering coastal waters causes over 100 million global annual illnesses, but CWP (coastal water pollution) has the potential to reach many more people on land via transfer in sea spray aerosol.”

Hurricane Hilary alone released 2.5 billion gallons of contaminated stormwater through the Tijuana River Valley, according to the Clean Water Report. Volunteers found bacterial levels almost 100 times higher than California’s health standard for safe recreation.

TOXIC ALGAE BLOOM BECOMING DEADLY FOR SEA LIONS, DOLPHINS IN PACIFIC OCEAN

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 19: A surfer walks out of the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach shortly after sunset with Hurricane Hilary approaching on August 19, 2023 in San Diego, California. Southern California is under a first-ever tropical storm warning as Hurricane Hilary approaches with parts of California, Arizona and Nevada preparing for flooding and heavy rains.
File: A surfer walks out of the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach shortly after sunset with Hurricane Hilary approaching on August 19, 2023 in San Diego, California.

HOW TO WATCH FOX WEATHER

Scripps study from 2021 pointed out that in the U.S. alone, an estimated 90 million cases of waterborne illness of the gastrointestinal tract, ear, eye, respiratory tract and skin occur every year from recreational contact. The estimated cost of that is $2 billion every year.

“These priority beaches represent a variety of recreational waters and access points that are important to local communities, yet water quality conditions could be putting public health at risk,” Surfrider said. “No one should get sick from spending time at the beach.”

Other beaches and waterways on the list are recreational waters and access points to rivers and bays for paddleboarders and kayakers in local communities.

Nawiliwili Stream in Hawaii flows across a Kauai, Hawaii, beach where families bring kids to play in the calm shallow waters, according to Surfrider.

HOW FLOODWATER CAN MAKE YOU VERY SICK

Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, California is a popular surf break. Kahalulu on Oahu in Hawaii is an access point for snorkeling, boating and fishing in Kaneohe Bay.

File: Beachgoers walk at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, Calif., on Wednesday, June 15, 2023.
File: Beachgoers walk at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, Calif., on Wednesday, June 15, 2023.

The BWTF posts recent water test results on their website. The EPA has a list of all beaches that are monitored. The EPA also posts beach closures and advisories along with water test results.