Every summer, residents of the desert Southwest brace for extreme heat. But this year, heat waves have impacted areas from Seattle to Slovenia that are unaccustomed to dealing with uncommonly high temperatures.
The Pacific Northwest has seen record-breaking heat waves for the past three years. This creates a sticky—and dangerous—situation for the area, since many
homes don’t have air conditioning. Cities all over Europe have been sweating over “Lucifer,” a heat wave that caused at least two deaths and stoked forest fires. And the trend isn’t cooling off anytime soon.
“Heat waves are projected to become more intense, more frequent, and longer lasting over the next century,” said heat justice expert Sharon Harlan, professor of health sciences and sociology at Northeastern. Here, Harlan discusses the dangers of heat waves and how they disproportionately affect low-income populations.