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Feeling the Heat -- The Herman Trend Alert November 3, 2021
Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP --  The Herman Group Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP -- The Herman Group
Austin, TX
Wednesday, November 3, 2021


The Herman Trend Alert

November 3, 2021

Feeling the Heat

The planet is warming, and although I still have some readers who do not believe it, the cause is conclusively human produced. We all saw what happened when many countries locked down. Not only did those cities become more livable, but the quality of the air we breathed got better. This Herman Trend Alert details most recent climate study from The US National Academy of Sciences---actually submitted for review in December 2020.

A Rising Threat to Cities Worldwide

According to this new study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the urban poor are at the greatest risk. And as more people move to cities and the climate warms, the extreme heat will likely hurt and kill more people, decrease worker productivity, and negatively affect economies.

An Impressive Sample and Methodology

Having assessed more than 13,000 cities, the study found that from 1983 to 2016, global extreme heat exposure increased nearly 200 percent! The study concluded the reasons included population growth, climate change, and the fact that city infrastructure absorbs more heat. Almost 25 percent of the global population lives in areas where extreme heat exposure is rising.

People Flocking to Cities

Areas such as southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are seeing rapidly urbanization and are increasingly vulnerable to soaring temperatures and high humidity. The danger of extreme heat has become a rising threat to fast-growing cities around the world. Until recently, researchers have been missing heat's full impact due to the fact that some of these regions do not have reliable weather station data. Moreover, climate models used to forecast temperatures have tended to skim over city hot spots.

A Novel Approach to Collecting the Data

Using satellite data to measure heat worldwide gave researchers a better global view of the problem. This report also details that climate change is reversing global progress in delivering food and water security to those in need, as well as intensifying exposure to wildfires. As if that were not enough, this study revealed increasing conditions suitable for infectious disease pathogens---the concept of "spillover" outlined in the previous Alert about Climate Migration.

Heat Can Challenge the Body

Heat is harmful to the body multiple ways. If the body loses the ability to regulate its temperature, the body's organs can overheat dangerously, risking death. Patients with cardiac disease, diabetes, or kidney problems are also at increased risk for additional complications. Last June, a record heatwave in the Pacific Northwest killed hundreds of people when the Seattle's temperature topped 108 degrees Fahrenheit and Portland Oregon's topped 116. As humans continue to burn fossil fuels and warm the planet scientists expect more frequent and intense heat waves. The Cooling Center in Portland was a very popular place for days. Areas in British Columbia saw record-breaking temperatures even higher than those in the US with Lytton smashing its previous record to reach 121.3 degrees Fahrenheit. During that 4-day period, over 70 locations in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada have already tied or set new all-time heat records.

Bucking the Trend and Naming Heatwaves

Unlike most, some cities are preparing. The mayor of Seville, Spain, announced recently that his city will name and categorize heat waves, like the way we treat hurricanes. In partnership with the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, the Mayor's goal is to raise the public recognition of heat waves and better communicate their imminent threat.

Breaking Records: there's no end in sight

In the past, we had heatwaves in the US that did not get to the temperatures of the four-day period this year. However, it won't be the last year. The good news is that we humans will adapt. Across the warmer states, in the near-term future, you may expect more flights cancelled during the days and in the long-term, the flights will only be scheduled during the cooler hours---as is already being done in the Middle East. Finally, expect to see more communities built in the mountains to escape the heat. People who can afford it will choose to live outside of the urban centers with their heat and humidity. The trend towards remote work will support people being able to work anywhere there is enough bandwidth.

Special thanks to NBC News and Evan Bush for this important coverage. To read the entire story, go here.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: Rethinking Employment

Taking a lead from 4-day workweek proponent Thomas Michael Hogg, we will examine the necessity for CEOs to rethink their workforce models and cultures. Given the current workforce crisis, this transformation will not be optional.


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Name: Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP
Title: Certified Speaking Professional and Management Consultant
Group: The Herman Group
Dateline: Austin, TX United States
Direct Phone: 336-210-3548
Main Phone: 800-227-3566
Cell Phone: 336-210-3548
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