Am reviewing expert science reporter Linda Marsa's Fevered, about a hotter planet and what that means for human health. (Spoiler: It's not great news, although "heat adaptation" is possible in many cases.)
Though I'm not yet finished, must say I'm impressed with this book. Perhaps the best climate change book I've read since Tim Flannery's "The Weathermakers." Short, direct, and uninterested in bickering wtih climate change deniers or minimizers, this book is all about consequences. Might say Fevered is a Sugar Ray Robinson of a climate change book: short, muscular, and punchy as hell. Pound for pound, as they say in sports, as good a book as you'll find on the subject.
It's also a book that includes a good number of interesting and useful facts usefui to know but not likely to show up in the sort of articles Marsa has written for newspapers (such as the Los Angeles Times) or magazines (such as Discover). And hence, worthy of blogging.
For instance, from a stunning chapter about heat waves called "The Hot Zone":
"…when heat waves occur early in the summer, people are more likely to die because they're not yet acclimated to hotter weather. But as the summer goes on, our bodies gradually adapt by helping sweat glands produce more perspiration on the skin's surface, cooling the body. "By the end of the summer, bodies have become more resilient," said [Gary] Szatkowski, of the National Weather Service. "The exact same weather conditions that might prompt us to issue a warning in early June wouldn't be as dangerous in late August."
Brings to mind the Great Heat Wave of 2006 in California, which according to authorities killed a minimum of 147 people — making one of the worst natural disasters in recent history in California.
Point is, these heat waves are getting hotter, even in California — and especially at night.
From California Heat Waves in the Present and Future (Different colors indicate different regions, teal colored line indicates the coastal north — one reason why the Great Heat Wave of 2006 in California turned so deadly, because the northern coastal region was not accusted to real heat.)