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Story Publication logo August 18, 2010

Revisiting the Paris Heat Wave


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Planet Earths average temperature has risen about one degree Fahrenheit in the last fifty years. By...

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Heat Wave: Climate Change? Image by Dan Grossman. France, 2003.

In August 2003, Europeans suffered the worst heat wave in at least 500 years. Many weather records were set that month. Great Britain reported its hottest day ever. Forest fires raged in much of southern Europe, themselves causing deaths. Crops withered and trees died. One of the cities hit hardest was Paris. Although the high heat started in early August, it was nearly mid-month, after hundreds of people had been killed, before the French government realized that the heat wave had turned deadly in Paris. Before the heat wave was over, the city's morgues had to requisition refrigerator trucks just to hold the excessive number of dead bodies. More than 1,000 Parisians had died of dehydration, heat stroke and other ailments caused by high heat, a disproportionate fraction of which were single, elderly women.

Producer Dan Grossman tells us the story of the Paris Heat Wave, and the signs that other parts of the world, including parts of the U.S. Midwest, could soon face significantly increased climate extremes. Listen to the story at the link provided below.



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Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change

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