Friday, January 17, 2014

Manmade Global Heat Stroke (AKA The Australian Open)

They're playing the Australian Open tennis champshionship this week, during one of the worst heat waves Melbourne Australia has ever seen. Temperatures have approached 110°F, and even young, super-fit tennis players are having trouble coping with the heat. The New York Times writes:
For four days, starting Tuesday, the temperature climbed over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). It was the longest heat wave in the Melbourne area in more than 100 years, according to the Herald Sun. The newspaper said 243 people had gone to the hospital for heat exhaustion — and that was before the oppressive temperatures continued Friday.

At the Open in those four days, one player hallucinated and fainted, while another vomited; the soles of one player’s sneakers melted, as did the bottom of another player’s water bottle; cramps were common, as were complaints from stars and journeymen alike. One such complaint came from Ivan Dodig of Croatia, who said he had wondered whether he would die on court.
Tournament officials have responded like it's no big deal:
This was an actual quote from Dr. Tim Wood, the tournament’s chief medical officer, to the BBC: “We’ve evolved on the high plains of Africa chasing antelope for eight hours under these conditions.”

And this was an actual quote from a Canadian player named Frank Dancevic: “I was dizzy from the middle of the first set, and then I saw Snoopy and I thought, ‘Wow, Snoopy, that’s weird."’

Wood, in the BBC interview, said that from a “medical perspective,” man had long adapted to exercise in extreme heat. He finished that thought with, “Whether it is humane or not is a whole other issue.”
Global warming is already threatening outdoor hockey rinks in Canada. Ski slopes in New England. Now it's summer tennis that is risky. How long until we just put a dome over it all and play there (and only there)?

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