By Laurie Goering
Giving heatwaves names and strength ratings, as for hurricanes, could drive home the spiking danger from a threat that kills more people in the United States each year than storms and floods but rarely hits headlines, heat experts said on Tuesday.
“People do not understand this risk and we need to change that,” said Kathy Baughman McLeod, director of the Washington-based Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, which works to cut climate change, migration and security risks.
With 2020 set to be one of the hottest years on record, in a long string of them, “extreme heat is or will be felt by everyone, everywhere, at some point. We have to build awareness to this invisible threat,” she told an online event.
The research, done by the Climate Impact Lab and based on data from 40 countries, found the problem will be most severe in the already hot tropics, in countries from Bangladesh to Sudan, where people may struggle to afford adequate cooling.