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Extreme heat has extreme consequences

Extreme heat travels across southern and western parts of the United States with temperatures rising well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat wave is yet another reminder that this will continue to be a common crisis that continues to affect the planet.

On July 15, temperatures in parts of Arizona and California reached around 113F, with the hot weather reaching Oklahoma and northern Texas. The heat continued throughout the weekend, with temperatures around ten degrees above normal in places like the central and southern Plains.

The National Weather Service (NWS) advised those impacted by the heat to stay hydrated and look for air conditioning. They also suggested checking on potentially vulnerable people, such as the elderly. It is also advised to use sun protection like sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.

The week of the 10th, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked customers to conserve power as the supply got tight. This call was sparked by "record high" electricity demand, according to ERCOT. Electricity use can soar during heatwaves, as people continuously use air conditioners and fans to stay refreshed.

Many other countries are also battling extreme heat. The Independent reports that the UK has called for a heatwave emergency as temperatures skyrocket. Leading to health concerns like heat stress and other illnesses, if temperatures stay too hot for too long, the NWS warns. Signs of heat stress include throbbing headaches, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, and looking pale. The cause of heat stress is because the human body can have a hard time cooling itself.

The extreme heat that the world used to see every ten years will now occur every other year as the world reaches 2 degrees Celsius of warming above 19th-century temperatures, according to a recent report from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

If the planet warms any further, heatwaves are likely to become very common, the IPCC adds. Moreover, the Climate Action Tracker warns that the world is on track to 2.7C of warming by the year 2100.

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