A highlight from How deadly heat waves expose historic racism

Nature Podcast
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Year you may have noticed. It's been hot. it's only july and we've already had an absolutely shattering. Unprecedented heatwave really hot. We went out and bought the last remaining air conditioner at a large client store. And then we all including two dogs gathered into our bedroom or the air conditioner is when we slept there for about four days one of this year's heatwaves in particular hit cities which aren't used to dealing with such extreme heat portland seattle across the canadian border into vancouver and up into british columbia and hit them with record-breaking ten purchase. I mean they weren't just breaking previous records by one degree. They were breaking them by four or five six degrees. This is reporter. Alex whizzy on the phone from colorado. She's written a feature in this week's nature exploring the growing dilemma of extreme heat in cities in the us and around the world. It's a problem that hit cities in particular due to the urban heat island effect where cities are often significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside. It's also a problem. That's on the rise. Due to climate change and it's a problem that's unexpectedly deadly. He is absolutely an underappreciated. Whether related natural disaster it's really easy to understand flooding when like a big hurricane comes in. It's really easy to understand. Wildfires threatening your house they to get out of the way but heat is. It's a killer. It's it's steady and people don't really recognize that. This often lack of information on heat related deaths a lot of times a medical examiner on a death certificate will just say this person died of exhaustion. This person died of hypertension. This person died of cardiovascular disease but the death certificate notice that that person was an apartment with no air conditioning and it was one hundred and five degrees for five days in a row. If you're older if you're younger if you have pre existing conditions like heart conditions or asthma you are much more likely to be affected by heat. People don't think about he as being a keller but it is. An event of this magnitude really sends shockwaves through society. This is action this our infrastructure system. Our ecosystems and society at large are not well equipped to be able to handle this level of intensity feedback is a professor of climate adaptation at portland state. University and part of his research has involved monitoring heat in different places in cities such as portland oregon and looking at how heatwave effects people and which people are most affected. We've been talking several folks who live in multifamily residential apartments these are low income social housing and the windows aren't applicable or they just opened a few centimetres. The sun solar radiation is hitting those apartment buildings it's being pushed in often through the materials at the apartment. Buildings were built with and then temperatures in there. We were noticing from some informal stations. We have set up. It was getting up to fifty seven sixty degrees in doors. In some of these apartment complexes in that's very very dangerous for human health sixty degrees celsius one hundred and forty degrees fahrenheit another researcher. Who's had a lot of experience with heat is angel shoe. I always remember my parents just refusing. They grew up in a tropical country. Taiwan which is basically located very close to the equator. And so they're used to a lot of high heat and humidity. And i just remember growing up in a brick house in south carolina and just baking in the summertime and my parents refusing to spend money on air conditioning. Angel is now a climate scientist in north carolina and is

Coming up next