Barely a year after extreme heat killed 17 and sent more than 9,800 people to the hospital, Japan has been hit with another heat wave. This most recent extreme heat event killed 11 and sent 1,900 to hospitals, and broke heat records in 14 Japanese cities.
Other cities around the world have also been hit with recent heat waves…
On Thursday, Phoenix, Arizona set a record of 116°F. In other parts of the state, temperatures were even higher — Yuma reached 117 °F, tying a record high for the date, and Tacna reached 120°.
“We have not dropped below the 90 degree mark since Tuesday morning, if you can believe that,” Matt Pace of Phoenix’s NBC 12 News said Thursday.
Last month, temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit led to increased demand for energy, power and water outages, andriots in India.
Heat waves are hitting communities earlier, longer and with higher temperatures every year. We expect to see 100 degree days in July or August, but California, Texas and Kansas were already suffering with temperatures topping 100 degrees by late April and early May of this year.
Extreme heat is becoming more deadly. It causes more deaths in the U.S. each year than all other natural disasters combined. And it will only get worse. Forecasters in London warn that heat waves capable of killing hundreds and melting roads are likely to become the new normal by 2040.
This extreme heat can be especially deadly for the very young, the elderly, and for people living in buildings without air conditioning. As these heatwaves move into regions unaccustomed to extreme heat events, more people will be exposed to this kind of deadly heat without any way of escaping.
These recent heat waves are a reminder of the need to use every tool available to us in bringing down urban heat. To learn more about simple and inexpensive climate mitigation strategies, read GCCA’s primer – A Practical Guide to Cool Roofs and Cool Pavements.