Montreal hit its highest temperature in 147 years of recording on July 2 — 36.6°C (97.9°F) — and more than 50 people have died in the heat wave afflicting southern Quebec over the past week.
- Temperature records have been set across Ireland and the United Kingdom, causing roads to buckle and the roof of the Glasgow Science Centre to melt.
Southern California has seen record heats, with UCLA hitting an all-time high of 43.8°C (111°F).
Ouargla, Algeria reached 51.3°C (124.3°F), which is likely the highest temperature ever recorded in Africa, and other temperatures exceeding 50°C have been recorded across Asia.
It’s incredible that as the effects of climate change become ever more apparent, there are still powerful forces strongly in denial, and who will force the poor and disenfranchised to suffer the terrible consequences of inaction.
Extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related death
in the United States, according to the CDC, and its effects can be worse in urban areas because they’re more likely to trap heat than rural areas
, which can stop temperatures from dropping at night.
Heat waves are especially deadly when nighttime temperatures don’t cool enough to offer urban residents relief. The human body isn’t able to recover from the effects of extreme heat if air temperatures don’t dip below 80 degrees Fahrenheit [26.7 degrees Celsius] at night.
This requires us to consider heat retention when designing cities, as a good urban canopy and more reflective roofs can literally mean the difference between life and death.