Heat is one of the deadliest kinds of extreme weather in the United States. From 1991 through 2018, 37 percent of heat-related summer deaths were attributable to human-caused climate change. These events are emblematic of a larger trend in extreme heat, driven by global warming. And it’s not just a climate problem; as those mortality figures show, it can be a public health catastrophe. Climate change doesn’t always proceed in a linear fashion and often exceeds the predictions of computer models. The greater our emissions of heat-trapping gases, the higher the temperature rise and the greater the health risks. How hot will depend on what we do to tackle climate change.
By Susan Joy Hassol, Kristie Ebi and Yaryna Serkez. New York Times. July 21, 2021.