June 26, 2021 June 25, 2021
The west coast of the United States is experiencing an unprecedented heat wave. High temperatures set historic records and concern about the consequences of climate change is growing.
The lack of rain, the threat of large fires and deaths from heat are among the main concerns. A recent report released by the University of Washington warns of a dangerous impact of increased heat on mortality. The doctor. Kristie L. Ebi, a professor at the Center of Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington, explains that “about 5,500 Americans die from heat in the US, but this is something preventable, many things can be done to deal with it. with this mortality… We also know that heat waves have a greater frequency, duration and intensity now, the concern for the future is that while temperatures continue to rise, mortality will also increase during the summer ”.
And although these extreme conditions can harm anyone equally, there is a sector of the population more prone to severe damage and even death. Dr. Ebi explains that when the body temperature increases then it makes our heart work harder and other organs in our system. “We also know that adults over 65 have a higher risk, people who have problems with chronic diseases, or people who use drugs or are not in shape, that makes the body not be able to sweat properly and that affects our reaction to high temperatures… Furthermore, heat does not kill instantly, when there is a heat wave, mortality begins 24 hours later ”, he points out.
Heat wave and fires
Increased heat and drought have a direct impact on fires. Daniel Swain, UCLA Climate Scientist and member of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, indicates that while everything is drier, vegetation and forests become more flammable and fires are more intense and more difficult to control, threatening entire communities and ecosystems. “It is just what we observe in states like Utah, Arizona, Colorado and California, it is a trend of extreme increase in conditions that can cause fires due to climate change, high temperatures and low humidity of the land,” he said.
Some 40 million people in the United States are currently under an “excessive heat alert.”