Editor's Note - 18 July 2012: The EPA maps included in this post are updating URL's, the map images that I posted here, and the copy written about them, was about forecast UV levels for Monday, July 16, 2012. When I published the images I thought I was getting an image that would remain static - but it turns out these are 'light-box' URL's - the image addresses get re-newed daily, a new image is added each day to the image address showing each day's forecast UV-Index highs. There is an archive of the data that was used to make these EPA maps, at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - (see links and data below).
I've been noticing that the sun has been rather 'hot' this summer, as in it feels like your skin is burning as soon as you walk outside.
Last week's sizzling temperatures in the U.S. worked their way across the border into Toronto on a couple of days - but luckily we've had some periodic respite through this period, unlike our friends to the south.
Look at today's UV-Index predictions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - look at Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico. Twelve ?!! I didn't know the UV-Index went up to 12!
Environment Canada is predicting "9 or very high" for noon today.
I thought the polar ozone holes were diminishing since we got the chlorofluorocarbons out of the fridges and air conditioners ... oh wait - we didn't!
We did start using more pumps, pour-ons and roll-ons instead of sprays; and we did start slathering our skin with UV blockers that likely cause skin cancer themselves --- but with the refrigerators and the air-conditioners, they still need chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) to work.
With those sources, we just started recycling them - so when your A/C (or your refrigerator) stops working well, and you call in the professional HVAC person, they're now supposed to make sure the old Freon (Dupont's trademark name for CFC's) that is still in the machine doesn't escape while they're fixing it --- or when they're replacing old machines they're supposed to collect all the old Freon and store it in a canister and re-use it.
Since those laws were passed all talk in the Popular Press about the antarctic ozone hole seems to have gone away - and since that law was passed the number of residences with A/C has likely quadrupled. According to Canadian Federal Government's Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) study, from 1990 to 2007 energy use for air conditioning in residences in Canada tripled.
"2007 Survey of Household Energy Use (SHEU-2007) -- Summary Report"
II. Survey findings
Air conditioning and other cooling methods
According to Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Use Data Handbook Tables,13 from 1990 to 2007, the energy consumed in the residential sector for space cooling almost tripled (increasing by 266 percent). Furthermore, there was a noticeable increase in the penetration rate of air conditioning systems in Canadian households. Because of this, SHEU-2007 collected information on the characteristics and use of residential air conditioning systems.
Add five more years of expanding use to that figure.
Now it's not the hole in the ozone layer over the arctic polar region that we need to worry about; it's the hole over North America!
And check out the colours in the Legend on the EPA UV-Index contour map below - it looks like they had to add colours after the Index started to regularly pass the red (presumably the highest UV climatologists thought they'd need 10 years ago was "9", which they descided to colour red - as in fire, hot, death. Red is always the top end of any scale of heat or intensity.
But look at the scale, "0", on the far left, is dark blue - no UV to speak of - "9" is red - we all know the warnings we get through the media on days like today, 9 is always accompamied with the phrase, "very high" --- and at the extreme far end of the scale is light blue "15". Signifying... the end of times? When we all turn blue? ..I guess... .
We've 'burnt' through this scale with our recent and increasing, predilection for energy sucking 68 degree rooms when it's 100 degrees outside.
We need a new scale.
No, we need a new life - this one isn't working.
United States Government, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), UV Index | SunWise | US EPA - www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html
Government of Canada, Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) "2007 Survey of Household Energy Use - Summary Report - OEE": http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/statistics/sheu-summary07/air-conditioning.cfm?attr=0
Wikipedia, "Ozone depletion": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_depletion
Environment Canada, Toronto Island Weather Office: http://text.weatheroffice.gc.ca/forecast/city_e.html?on-128&unit=m
(open link in new tab for full screen size)
|Environment Canada, Toronto Island, loaded at 6:00 am edt 16 July 2012|
US Dept of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service, Archive of UV Index bulletins - June 28, 1994 - present - http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/uv_index/uv_archive.shtml
Forecast data for July 16, 2012 (File: "uv.2012071512.uvbull 15-Jul-2012 19:25 3.4K" - released on July 15, 2012) - forecast values shown below are the subject matter of this article - http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/uv_index/Bulletin/uv.2012071512.uvbull
MON JUL 16 2012 CITY STATE UVI CITY STATE UVI ALBUQUERQUE NM 12 LITTLE ROCK AR 11 ANCHORAGE AK 4 LOS ANGELES CA 11 ATLANTIC CITY NJ 9 LOUISVILLE KY 10 ATLANTA GA 11 MEMPHIS TN 11 BALTIMORE MD 9 MIAMI FL 10 BILLINGS MT 10 MILWAUKEE WI 9 BISMARCK ND 10 MINNEAPOLIS MN 10 BOISE ID 8 MOBILE AL 11 BOSTON MA 9 NEW ORLEANS LA 12 BUFFALO NY 9 NEW YORK NY 9 BURLINGTON VT 9 NORFOLK VA 10 CHARLESTON WV 9 OKLAHOMA CITY OK 11 CHARLESTON SC 11 OMAHA NE 10 CHEYENNE WY 11 PHILADELPHIA PA 9 CHICAGO IL 10 PHOENIX AZ 11 CLEVELAND OH 9 PITTSBURGH PA 9 CONCORD NH 9 PORTLAND ME 9 DALLAS TX 11 PORTLAND OR 7 DENVER CO 11 PROVIDENCE RI 9 DES MOINES IA 10 RALEIGH NC 10 DETROIT MI 9 SALT LAKE CITY UT 11 DOVER DE 9 SAN FRANCISCO CA 10 HARTFORD CT 9 SAN JUAN PU 12 HONOLULU HI 12 SEATTLE WA 8 HOUSTON TX 12 SIOUX FALLS SD 10 INDIANAPOLIS IN 10 ST. LOUIS MO 10 JACKSON MS 11 TAMPA FL 11 JACKSONVILLE FL 11 WASHINGTON DC 9 LAS VEGAS NV 11 WICHITA KS 10