Heat waves have dominated the headlines this summer, with record-breaking temperatures in the U.S. Pacific Northwest for a third year running, and dangerously high temperatures sweeping across Europe, in a heatwave nicknamed “Lucifer.”
The trend is expected to continue, as “heat waves are projected to become more intense, more frequent and longer lasting over the next century,” said heat justice expert Sharon Harlan.
Harlan, a professor of health sciences and sociology at Northeastern and a Faculty Affiliate of the Global Resilience Institute (GRI), spoke with News@Northeastern reporter Allie Nicodemo about heat-related health concerns, what precautions cities can take, and which populations are the most vulnerable to heat waves.
“Poverty is a key socioeconomic indicator of vulnerability to heat in populations around the world,” said Harlan. “In the United States, there is also a strong case for the independent effect of race on vulnerability to extreme weather events—including heat-related mortality—and the longer-term effects of climate change.”