Extreme Heat is a Health Crisis, Climate Change Is Making It Worse

The record-breaking heat Earth endured during the summer of 2022 will be repeated without a robust international effort to address climate change, a panel of scientists warned Monday.

Heat-related deaths, wildfires, extreme rainfall, and persistent drought are expected to become increasingly severe as both ocean and atmospheric temperatures continue to rise, the experts said. Even if all greenhouse gas emissions ceased today, Earth will continue to warm for several decades.

Radley Horton, a research professor at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, stated that human-induced climate change has caused the global average atmospheric temperature to warm by about 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) in the last several decades.

“One of the key takeaways is that a little bit of change in global temperature has an enormous impact,” said Horton. Some of the main consequences include longer and more intense heat waves that are hitting increasingly larger areas.