Oregonians should get used to the heat, climate experts warn

Average summer temperatures will only continue to rise, experts say.

Posted: Jun 28, 2021 7:58 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Most of Oregon has warmed up by about two degrees over the past century, scientists say, and the trend is continuing.

It's no secret that Oregon's climate is changing. Experts say heat increases are a long-term phenomenon.

According to experts, at this rate, average summer temperatures are projected to increase by 3 or 4 degrees by the 2050s and anywhere from 4 to 7 degrees by the 2080s, depending on how much society continues to use greenhouse gases.

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Professor Erica Fleishman, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, said that this is serious and "our infrastructure is not built for this."

"This weekend's heatwave is representative of an overall trend in which heatwaves are becoming more frequent. They are becoming longer, and they are becoming more intense as the climate continues to change," Fleishman said.

Fleishman said she couldn't say that this past weekend's extreme heatwave was directly caused by climate change, but it is a trend that is strongly related to climate change.

MORE: EUGENE BREAKS ALL-TIME HEAT RECORD

To minimize the long-term increases, experts recommend limiting carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases and encouraging regional and national action to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources of energy.

"Think about building materials, think about landscaping that minimizes water usage and maximizes shade and things like that," Fleishman said.

Experts encourage the community to learn how to adapt to these high temperatures quickly.

"No one can predict when the next record will fall, but they can say that climate change will make heat waves more common in the future and more intense," Fleishman said.

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