Barbie’s home may be a Dreamhouse, but as her state of California continues to experience a brutal heat wave sending temperatures to the triple digits, it may not be a dream setup for long. But there is a way to help her thrive – as well as the billions of others in the world.
Nonprofit climate science organization Climate Central released a set of graphics on Wednesday showcasing how Barbie’s Dreamhouse – and other homes – can be redesigned to adapt to that comes with it.
California, where Barbie’s home is based, has been facing an onslaught of brutal weather over the past year – severe drought that encapsulated the majority of the state, back-to-back deadly atmospheric rivers that caused massive floods, and now,. And these are problems that aren’t going away anytime soon. As humans continue to heavily burn fossil fuels, the gases emitted in that process will continue to fill the atmosphere, trapping the heat from the sun and turning into an Easy Bake Oven.
Sincefirst made her debut in 1959, the number of years with average temperatures above the long-term average has only increased in frequency. Climate Central demonstrated this change with Barbie’s own “warming stripes” – a graph of vertical stripes ranging from blue to dark red that indicate those temperatures. Blue represents individual years cooler than the long-term average, while pink and red indicate years that were warmer.
“She’s a Barbie Girl, in a warming world,” Climate Central captioned the post.
Globally, last month was the, beating the 2019 record “by a substantial margin,” the European Union’s climate monitoring service said. And that heat is expected to only worsen this year, as continues to drive heat waves that are sizzling the southern U.S. and other countries. Rising global temperatures will only fuel these kinds of events in the future, as well.
As temperatures increase, Climate Central explained that it will require “more energy (and money) to cool homes like Barbie’s dreamhouse.”
Compared to 2022, household cooling demand in the U.S. is expected to increase by 71% by 2050, scientists at Climate Central said, citing a 2023 outlook report by the Energy Information Association, with commercial buildings expected to see an increased demand of 30%.
“As the planet warms and both scorching days and sweltering nights occur more often, more cooling is needed to keep homes, schools, offices, and hospitals at comfortable temperatures,” Climate Central says in a bulletin about the topic.
This was seen just Wednesday in 110 degrees Fahrenheit – a trend only expected to continue “into early next week.”, where CBS News’ Jonathan Vigliotti reported that temperatures were in the 90s even before the sun came up. The National Weather Service said Thursday that the city is expected only continue its record-breaking heat, with every day so far this month seeing temperatures at or above
On Thursday, the low in Phoenix was just 87 degrees.
“Annual cooling degree days – a measure of cooling demand – have increased since 1970 in 232 (97%) of the 240 U.S. locations analyzed by Climate Central,” the organization says. “…CDD values estimate how much cooling is needed to maintain a comfortable indoor air temperature.”
That value is the difference between the dailyand the engineering standard temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which Climate Central says is “considered the ideal indoor temperature.” On a 110-degree day, for example, the CDD value would be 45.
Phoenix has seen one of the largest CDD increases since 1970, while in Los Angeles, near Barbie’s Malibu home, the cooling demand has actually slightly decreased since that time. But just a little east in California into Palm Springs, the demand has increased substantially.
So, what’s a Barbie girl to do in this increasingly warming environment? Well, it’s time for a home makeover, Barbie edition.
Climate Central says that insulation, energy-smart appliances, smart thermostats and LED lighting can all help take the edge off the heat in Barbie’s Dreamhouse and beyond. High-efficiency heat pumps, which take the heat from the indoor air to cool off a building and use the increasingly warming outdoor air to heat up the indoors, can also help, the group said.
In big cities, which experience the– essentially a bubble of heat created from excessive pavement, population and emissions with few plants to help soak up the heat – there are also tools to help. Dr. Deborah Brosnan, a climate resilience specialist and environmental scientist, previously told CBS News that implementing more green spaces for shade and retrofitting buildings to be more economical and efficient can help curb the increasing heat.
“It’s a long-term investment and it’s a cost,” Brosnan said. “The benefit is in human survival.”
But Climate Central made it clear that the most crucial step in ensuring Barbie’s Dreamhouse stays as iconic as it’s been for generations is one that climate scientists and experts have long pushed for – cutting off the burning of fossil fuels.
Using non-renewable sources for energy like coal and oil causes heat-trapping gases, namely carbon dioxide, to be released into the atmosphere. As the production of those materials continues, the atmosphere will continue to be overconcentrated with those particles. And even if the burning of fossil fuels stopped today, the global temperatures andcurrently being experienced would stick around for decades.
Turning to cleaner forms of energy, such as solar and wind, is what can help ensure that the situation doesn’t become any worse than it already has.