Feature image courtesy of Janean Sorrell

Heat wave burns through CPP

By Taylor Jaseph, Sept. 20, 2022

From Aug. 31 to Sept. 9, Cal Poly Pomona was engulfed in the record-breaking heat wave along the western states in the month of September. CPP consistently saw over 100 degree weather, with the high being 108 degrees occurring September 5-7.

Because of this heat wave, California blared with an emergency flex alert guiding residents to conserve electricity as California’s energy grid was being overloaded.

CPP sent out two facility newsbreak emails concerning the heatwave and flex alerts, advising everyone on campus to conserve electricity. CPP followed the guidelines set such as, pre-cooling homes in the morning when more power was available and setting thermostats to 78 degrees between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Following these guidelines helps reduce power demand on the grid and limit the amount of rolling blackouts California electricity companies had to initiate across the state.

“One thing I keep reading is basically, ‘yeah, this isn’t the worst yet, this is the beginning of a new normal,’” said Alan Barding, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “And when you look at extreme heat and extreme heat events and how long they last … the projection suggests that if we don’t change course, this is just the beginning of a very fast change you and I will see in our lifetime.”

Climate change is the main cause of these prolonged heat events, and these events will according to Barding. He said the future could be riddled with weeks of 100 plus degree weather and these heat waves are just a taste of how the climate is changing.

Operations around campus were affected by the heat wave with the aquatic center at the BRIC being closed for one day during the heat wave.

Janean Sorrell | The Poly Post

The pool must have three lifeguards stationed at all operating hours. If one lifeguard calls in sick, areas of the pool have to be closed. And due to lifeguards becoming affected by the heat and showing symptoms of heat sickness, Alejandra Gomez, aquatic manager for the BRIC, closed the pool.

“I did receive several calls from my lifeguards who were being affected by the heat,” said Gomez, “I used my best judgement to make sure that my lifeguards stay well. And so, I think the decision I had to make was closing down the pool.”

The CPP community were not the only ones impacted by the heat wave, plants grown on campus were also affected. Plants can undergo heat stress, where they can wilt from lack of water and the dry environment. With this prolonged heat event and heat stress, there can be significant impact to the flowering of the plant later on in the year.

“Everything just went as normal,” Taccone said. “The heat wave did not interrupt us except business went down.”

This heat wave, because of the high temperatures over a long period of time, will be ranked as one of the worst heat events in the past forty years, according to NASA.

“When you think about climate change it’s not insomuch these extreme events, which is what makes the news because they’re really profound and immediately impactful,” said Barding. “But really, it’s the downstream, it’s the ‘what’s going to happen six months from now? What’s going to happen eight months from now?’ from not having this cold weather, from not having the rain we’re supposed to have.”

Feature image by Janean Sorrell 





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