Just Released! Order “Waking Up to Climate Change” by George Ropes, and receive 25% Discount. Learn More

HOME          CATEGORIES          OUR TAKE

Heat Waves and Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Isiah Kersaint

Climate change has been shown to negatively impact the natural disasters that occur on our planet. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, are well known to be connected to climate change; however, a lesser-known natural disaster that is just as prevalent is heat waves.

Heat waves occur when a system of high atmospheric pressure moves into an area and can last several days or even up to several weeks. In a high pressure system, the air from the upper levels of the atmosphere is pulled towards the ground where it becomes compressed and increases temperature. Climate change is causing the heat waves that we experience now to become more frequent than they have been in the past. Climate change is shifting the temperature bell curve towards the hotter part of the scale, and even small shifts in that scale result in extreme heat conditions. In the 1960s, the average amount of heat waves in the United States was two per year, but by the 2010s, that number had increased to five heat waves per year. The heat waves that we experience are also lasting longer because of climate change. Climate change has forced weather systems to move around based on temperature differences within air currents; consequently, these temperature differences allow heat waves that arrive to an area to stay longer than they should.


The notion of heat waves may not spark the same amount of fear in people as a hurricane or a tornado would. In fact, it isn’t possible to visualize the damage from a heat wave as that from a hurricane or a tornado. Despite the lack of photographic evidence, heat waves cause more deaths in the United States than either hurricanes or tornadoes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as cited from its natural hazard statistics, heat waves cause more fatalities than any other weather hazard and also cause twice as many deaths than other natural disasters in the United States each year. As the climate continues to warm, these numbers could continue to increase. Europe has likewise been detrimentally affected from heat waves. In 2003, a heat wave which was estimated to have caused 70,000 deaths struck Europe. In 2017, Europe was again hit with another exceptionally strong heat wave, named“Lucifer” due to the enormous loss of life sustained

The effects of heat waves are not the same for all groups of people. The most vulnerable groups of people to heat waves are young children, the elderly, and people who have health issues or who are otherwise immunocompromised. Climate change is causing fatalities to increase as the weather gets warmer, resulting in intensifying heat waves.As these heat waves last longer and become more frequent, the number of deaths will only increase.








Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


More Posts Like This


The Connection Between Climate Change and Intensifying Hurricanes

Climate change was once a topic that many underestimated, but today, it is an undeniable reality that shapes our world. Over the past two weeks, I learned about the ideal conditions of hurricane formation, and what I discovered has left me thinking about the impact of climate change.


My Take on Climate Change

Hi, my name is Matthew and climate change has had its impact on myself, and many people I know. A major portion of these are the impacts on agriculture. Farms are being affected, especially in South Asia with extreme weather leading to many crop failures such as rice


Negative Effects of Climate Change

What is climate change? In simple terms climate change is the long term effects of the earth’s weather patterns, its increase in temperature, and the breakdown in the ozone layer. The debate on whether climate change is real or not stems from the extreme release of greenhouse gasses