It’s virtually certain that 2020 will be on the top five list of hottest years on record for the planet, according to atmospheric scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In a briefing, NOAA officials announced their three-month outlook for this summer, with above average temperatures expected across almost all of the United States. The likelihood of excessive heat is highest in the West and Northeast.

What’s also likely is that this heat will contribute to thousands of deaths—and that this impact could be made worse by the pandemic. More people will stay at home this summer rather than cool off in public spaces, even if they lack air conditioning. To prepare, researchers say we need to understand that heat waves are a serious natural disaster made worse by climate change, and it’s on us to make cities safer.

Heat claims more lives than any other weather-related cause, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and cold temperatures. It’s perhaps easy, especially from the perspective of someone with air conditioning or living in a cooler climate, to think of heat as merely a nuisance. But for vulnerable populations, including those over 65 and people with underlying health conditions, heat can kill swiftly.

Read the entire story at Popular Science. Kristie Ebi, professor of Global Health, is quoted.