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Climate Changes Health: Extreme Heat

Published on: August 18, 2022.


More than 5 million people

die a year as the result of extreme heat or cold exposure around the world.

About this Data Insights

Globally, more than 5 million people die a year as the result of extreme heat or cold exposure. Within the United States, over 1,300 deaths per year are due to extreme heat. As temperatures continue to rise with climate change, extreme heat events are expected to worsen - increasing in frequency, severity, and duration - leading to an overall increase in heat-related mortality. New heat modeling projects that over 8.1 million Americans will experience temperatures exceeding 125 °F in 2023, and over 100 million Americans will face these temperatures by 2053.

This infographic highlights the dangers of extreme heat, the relationship with the built environment, and solutions to promote heat mitigation and management.

This infographic was reviewed by Jeremy S. Hoffman, Ph.D., David and Jane Cohn Scientist, Science Museum of Virginia

Citations
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Extreme Heat Definition: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, About Extreme Heat, June 2017

Extreme Heat Variations: Ladd Keith, PhD, and Sara Meerow, PhD, American Planning Association, PAS Report 600: Planning for Urban Heat Resilience, April 2022

Extreme Heat Events Have Already Worsened: US Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Change Indicators: Heat Waves, August 2022

Extreme Heat Events are Expected to: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Extreme Heat Can Impact Our Health In Many Ways, No Date

Since 1980: Elise Gout and Cathleen Kelly, The Center for American Progress, "It’s Time for Congress To Protect Americans From Deadly Extreme Heat", August 2021

The Impact of Extreme Heat on the Body: Christina Maxouris, CNN, "This is what happens to your body during extreme heat", June 2021

Who is Most at Risk: Environmental Protection Agency, Heat Islands and Equity, April 2022

Those with Limited Resources to Cope:

  • Income and Mobility: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Heat and the Low Income, June 2017
  • Air Conditioning Access: Lauren Kim, et al.; Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, "Beat the Heat: Extreme Heat Risk Perceptions & Air Conditioning Ownership in California", July 2021

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Frequently Asked Questions About Extreme Heat, June 2012

#1 Weather Related Killer: Ladd Keith, PhD, and Sara Meerow, PhD, American Planning Association, PAS Report 600: Planning for Urban Heat Resilience, April 2022

More than 1,300 deaths: Sameed Ahmed M. Khatana, MD, MPH, Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD, Peter W. Groeneveld, MD, MS, JAMA Network Open, Association of Extreme Heat with All-Cause Mortality in the Contiguous US, 2008 - 2017, May 2022

How are Extreme Heat and the Built Environment Related?

Heat Exposure, the Built Environment, and Equity

What Can Individuals Do to Protect Themselves? Dani Blum, The New York Times, "How to Stay Cool and Safe in a Heat Wave", July 2022

How to Cope with Extreme Heat: Ladd Keith, PhD, and Sara Meerow, PhD, American Planning Association, PAS Report 600: Planning for Urban Heat Resilience, April 2022

Resources
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  • Extreme Heat Modeling: First Street Foundation, First Street Foundation Finds an emerging “Extreme Heat Belt” will Impact Over 107 Million Americans by 2053, August 2022
  • Dangerous Heat Tracker: Matthew Bloch, Lazaro Gamio, Zach Levitt, Eleanor Lutz, and John-Michael Murphy, The New York Times, "Tracking Dangeous Heat in the US", August 2022

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