Scorching temperatures at the height of summer often surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) for days and even weeks at a time across many parts of the globe
While some people are able to find relief from the heat in air-conditioning, it’s a luxury many others can’t afford. Until recent heat waves, many people living in traditionally temperate climates, like Britain and the Pacific Northwest, have not considered their regions hot enough to need it.
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But as heat waves around the world grow more frequent and longer lasting, they can raise the risk of heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, the number of hot days is increasing, and the frequency of heat waves in the United States has jumped from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year by the 2010s. That report explains that the season for heat waves is now 45 days longer than it was six decades ago.