Climate Change
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Extreme Heat and Climate Change

The effects of extreme heat are felt throughout California. The 2006 California heat wave caused over 16,000 emergency room visits and over 1,100 hospitalizations.

Extreme heat events will become more common in the coming years. By 2100, average daily temperatures are expected to rise 5.6-8.8 F. Effects from extreme heat can range from mild heat cramps to dehydration to death. Certain populations, such as elderly people living alone, face much greater health risks during heat waves.

How does climate change affect extreme heat?

Greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, absorb heat radiated from the earth's surface. This heat is then radiated back to earth's surface, causing a "greenhouse effect". Human-induced emissions have strengthened this effect, leading to global warming.

How does extreme heat impact health?

People suffer from heat-related illness when the body's natural temperature controls become overloaded. Uncontrolled body temperatures can damage an individual's brain or other vital organs. Increases in nighttime heat are particularly dangerous, as this is a time when our bodies can cool off and recover. Nighttime temperatures have been increasing at a higher rate than daytime temperatures. Learn more about identifying and preventing heat-related illness.

Who will be most affected?

Populations vulnerable to heat include:

What can you do?

We know that climate change will bring an increase in extreme heat for many communities.  There are ways to make sure you and your community are prepared and stay safe during heat spells.

Resources on climate change and extreme heat