Temperatures shot up over 110 degrees in Southern California on Friday, obliterating all kinds of long-standing heat records, and the lights went out for tens of thousands of customers. Californians were powerless, without air conditioning, in the hottest weather many had ever experienced.
Climate scientists have known this was coming, and it may only be the beginning.
“We studied this a long time ago . . . now our projections are becoming reality,” tweeted Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University.
In 2006, Hayhoe and colleagues published the study “Climate, Extreme Heat, and Electricity Demand in California” in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.
“Over the twenty-first century, the frequency of extreme-heat events for major cities in heavily air-conditioned California is projected to increase rapidly,” the study said. It warned that as temperatures soared, electricity demand would exceed supply.
Friday’s weather and the resulting blackouts illustrated their point.
“Skyrocketing electricity demand due to Friday’s triple-digit temperatures triggered power outages around Los Angeles that are still affecting about 34,500 residences and businesses,” the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday afternoon. “Peak energy demand climbed to 6,256 megawatts on Friday, knocking down the previous July record of 6,165 megawatts set in 2006,” which happened to be the same year the Hayhoe study was published. Washigton Post
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