The day and night cycle on Earth helps bring us different temperatures. Obviously the day time is when things warm up and our nights get colder as we face away from the sun. Recently scientists have been noticing how our nights are increasing in temperature and causing us to experience more tropical nights. This leads to today’s big question, how are we impacted by Tropical Nights?
To most people the word abstract means vague or open to interpretation. However when scientists use the word abstract it’s to describe a summary of researched work. Similarly, to us “tropical nights” sounds like an exotic beach party with island music, but to scientists this leads to the topic of climate change. Anytime our night time temperature is 68 degrees or higher, climate scientists label it as a tropical night. Obviously we will have some tropical nights during warmer seasons, but in recent years we’ve been seeing an increase in the amount of tropical nights we experience.
This increase is a cause for concern among climate scientists because this impacts some vital aspects of life here on Earth. First of all this increase in warmer nights is a human health issue. Excessive heat events are the primary cause of mortality from weather related deaths. This especially impacts the elderly, those suffering from illness, and people who can’t afford air conditioning. As the amount of tropical nights increases, we could see a rise in weather related health problems.
Secondly, this is problematic for food production. Crop yields of corn, soy beans, and rice are negatively impacted by increased tropical nights. In terms of the modern diet, these crops are in nearly everything we make and eat! Lowering the production of our most used food items could be bad news for our meals and farms.
Finally, this is an economic issue for us too. As we experience more warmer nights we rely more on air conditioning. Our cooling costs will increase with the increase in warmer tropical nights. Not only is this an economic concern, but it also perpetuates the problem too. If we have more warmer nights we’ll need to use more air conditioning, which requires putting more heat trapping gasses into the atmosphere, which in turn will result in more tropical nights. This feedback loop will just continue unless these issues are met with action.
So, what can we do?
If you ask anyone that has been studying this climate occurrence they’ll say the obvious answer is to reduce the use of our fossil fuels and to stop putting as many heat trapping gases into our atmosphere. Riding bikes or walking more than driving, buying foods that have had to travel fewer miles to get to your plate, and being more responsible with power usage are all great for addressing this issue. There are still other things that can be done as well. Creating more shaded areas and reflective surfaces would be a great way to help combat some of these temperature concerns. Also, our physical built world could be factored in as well. Buildings and structures of multi layered heights help redistribute air flow. This means having a diverse array of heights in your region will help mix the cool and warm air together as it moves through the area.
All of these methods could work together to help us better deal with air flow and our region’s temperatures. Dialogues with local planners are a great step towards getting these issues addressed and getting some plans rolling. Sure, working towards resiliency plans will require effort and communications, but they will ultimately help our communities become more sustainable all day and all tropical night long!
Scientists also agree that rock solid plans to deal with this are way better than “abstract” ones.