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Scientists raise concerns after recent heatwave shatters records: 'An absolute gamechanger when it comes to extreme heat'

This sweltering heat caused school closures, crop losses, and even deaths.

This sweltering heat caused school closures, crop losses, and even deaths.

Photo Credit: iStock

Imagine stepping outside and feeling like you've walked into an oven.

That's what April felt like for millions across Asia as a blistering heatwave shattered temperature records, according to the Guardian. Leading scientists say this heatwave wasn't a freak event — it's part of a disturbing, human-caused trend.

What's happening?

A record-shattering heatwave baked the Philippines in April, with temperatures soaring above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This sweltering heat caused school closures, crop losses, and even deaths. Scientists say this extreme event would have been virtually impossible without the air pollution created by humans.

The Philippines wasn't alone in feeling the heat. Across Asia, from India to Israel, abnormally high temperatures took a toll. In war-torn Gaza, the heat worsened an already dire humanitarian 

crisis for people in overcrowded shelters with limited water access.

"Climate change is an absolute gamechanger when it comes to extreme heat," said Dr. Friederike Otto from Imperial College London. 

Why is this heatwave concerning?

Freak scorchers have always happened. But as the Earth overheats due to human activities like burning dirty gases, heatwaves are getting supercharged. They're becoming more frequent, intense, and dangerous to our health and communities.

Even with only around 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit of warming, millions have died prematurely from extreme heat in recent decades. As temperatures continue to climb, scientists warn we can expect dangerously hot days to become much more common.

Imagine if global temperatures rise 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels — a real possibility without major pollution cuts. Heatwaves like April's could hammer the Philippines every two to three years and Israel every five years.

What's being done about heatwaves?

Despite the intimidating statistics, there's a lot we can do to protect people from worsening heatwaves while also tackling the root cause: planet-warming pollution.

Cities are setting up early warning systems, opening cooling centers, and improving urban green space to lower local temperatures. You can advocate for these heat-safety measures in your community.

On a personal level, small changes add up to keep you cool while trimming both bills and pollution. Sealing air leaks, using fans, and closing curtains on hot days are easy ways to give your AC a break. Energy-efficient appliances and adding insulation help too.

Of course, the best thing we can do is speed the shift from dirty pollution to clean energy through our voice, vote, and wallet. Together, we can create a cooler future for ourselves and the planet.

In the meantime, stay safe in the heat.

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