Heat waves will become more intense throughout the century due to global warming, and the U.S. Midwest is among the most vulnerable to dangerous heat, according to a new study.
While the news reported about high temperatures and global warming typically focuses on the rising average temperatures, it's the temperature extremes that matter most. While the average temperature by 2100 might rise 5.4 degrees, the hottest of the hot days will be 14.4 degrees warmer, according to the study detailed by Reuters.
Put simply, heat waves kill.
Dozens died when a heat wave struck the U.S. in August 2007, tens of thousands died across Europe in 2003, and hundreds in Chicago alone in 1995.
Overall, 1,500 Americans die each year from excessive heat, whereas fewer than 200 die from all other natural disasters -- tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods -- combined.
Heat waves also contribute to greater wildfire risk, and potential for prolonged and damaging droughts.
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