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Problems Related to Heat

A clever new working paper by Jisung Park, a Ph.D. student in economics at Harvard, compared the performances of New York City students on 4.6 million exams with the day’s temperature. He found that students taking a New York State Regents exam on a 90-degree day have a 12 percent greater chance of failing than when the temperature is 72 degrees. ...
Heat affects our bodies as well as our minds: As temperatures rise, people die. In India, a rise of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in average daily temperatures leads to a 10 percent increase in the annual mortality rate. Even a single extra hot day leads to a noticeable jump in mortality. ...
Perhaps more startling, rising temperatures seem to cause more violence.

“The relationship is really clear,” said Edward Miguel, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied the issue. “Extremes in climate lead to more violence, more killing, more war, more land riots in Brazil, more sectarian violence in India. It’s pretty stunning how the relationship between climate and violence holds across the globe.” ...
In Tanzania in any season, elderly women are sometimes accused of witchcraft and hacked or beaten to death. Professor Miguel has found that unusual weather linked to climate change — either drought or heavy rainfall — is associated with a doubling in the number of these “witch” killings.
It appears that 2016 will be the hottest year in recorded history, and each of the first six months of this year set a record as the hottest ever — the hottest January, the hottest February, and so on. But it’s not just that the mercury is going up; fundamentally, we are creating a hotter world for which we humans are poorly adapted.
- Nicholas Kristof, Temperatures Rise, and We’re Cooked, NYT, Sept. 10, 2016


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