Dangerous temperatures break 100° (15 days) and 105° (7 days) setting new record.
This marker is located at 78 Chestnut Street in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Climate-driven extreme heat poses a greater threat to human life than flooding. With an increasing number of days reaching over 100° and 105° in Boston in 2048, there are negative impacts on human life and nature. Heat stroke, which is when a person's body is unable to cool itself down, can cause death if not treated in time and heat can contribute to illnesses like cardiovascular and respiratory disease. These impacts disproportionately affect lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color due to the urban heat island effect, which is the effect that happens in urban areas like cities and towns. When there is a lot of asphalt and higher density buildings around, the area heats up a lot more because the infrastructure is absorbing and re-emitting the heat from the sun, making the area much warmer.
But there are ways we can combat the rising temperatures. Making buildings with air conditioning more accessible to the public will help a lot of people, since not everyone can afford to buy an air conditioner. Planting more trees will give more shade and create cooler microclimates. Rooftop gardens are a good way to combat record temperatures and they can absorb pollution in the air. Other heat mitigation strategies include green roofs, which are roofs with a lot of drainage and plants, and white roofs, which reflect the sun’s rays so that less heat is absorbed by the building. Additionally, green parking lots, which incorporate permeable paving, solar panels, and vegetation are also a big help as they absorb a ton of heat. Cooling stations have also proven to be extremely helpful. Cooling stations are places indoors where people can go to cool off, such as libraries or community centers. They are especially good for people who don’t have air conditioning in their homes. The Robbins Library is a good example of a cooling station in Arlington.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Reducing and combating rising temperatures and the resulting urban heat island effect is critical to human survival. Passing laws that reduce carbon emissions and fund green infrastructure and heat mitigation projects, especially in vulnerable communities, is a big step toward lessening the impacts of the climate crisis. The Killer Heat Interactive Tool by the Union of Concerned Scientists offers heat projections specific to where you live as well as guidance on how to take action to limit future extreme heat events. Use it to take a look at the future where you live: https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/killer-heat-interactive-tool
Union of Concerned Scientists, Killer Heat in the United States
Wavin, 10 tips on how to reduce urban heat stress
Conserve Energy Future, Causes, Effects and Solutions to Urban Heat Island
EPA, Reduce Urban Heat Island Effect
Mystic River Watershed Association, Climate Data
CDC, Heat Stress – Heat Related Illnesses
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, About Green Roofs
Boston Globe, Boston has seen 24 days with temps 90 or above this year – and there is still time for more
New York Times, Hidden Toll of the Northwest Heat Wave: Hundreds of Extra Deaths
City of Boston, Climate Ready Boston Executive Summary