How Extreme Heat Causes Cascading Crises
This article by Somini Sengupta discusses the dangerous feedback loops that extreme heat can trigger for hospitals and clinics in the United States. The author highlights the need for practical solutions to prepare for worsening heat waves due to rising global temperatures. The article mentions the potential impact of the El Niño weather pattern, combined with human-induced global warming, on driving temperatures to record highs in the coming years. It further emphasizes the urgent need for hospitals to prepare for compounding health risks, such as multiday blackouts amid extreme heat. Using previous heat wave data, researchers estimated that in Phoenix, a city heavily reliant on air-conditioning, nearly half the population could end up in the emergency room for heat-related illnesses during such conditions. The article suggests measures like increasing tree cover, implementing reflective white paint on rooftops, upgrading electrical systems, and providing backup power for hospitals to mitigate these risks. Additionally, resources and tipsheets are being developed to help health providers and patients prepare for heat-related illnesses.