Adapting the human body and infrastructure to high temperatures

Some California regions could see record-breaking temperatures above 110 degrees this week. Photo by Shutterstock.

Another heatwave is sweeping through California this week. Some regions could see record-breaking temperatures above 110 degrees. Death Valley could hit 130 degrees.

“We're seeing record temperatures multiple times a year and [in] multiple parts of the world. Even at those levels, that can be quite dangerous. … There's a maximum level of heat and humidity that the body can tolerate,” says David Wallace-Wells, editor-at-large at New York Magazine, and author of “The Uninhabitable World: Life After Warming.” 

To help mitigate hot temperatures, invest in green infrastructure, says USC professor Esther Margulies.

“If I can just get under that big, mature tree with a dense canopy, I could be in a temperature that's more like 90 degrees. Maybe not cool, but definitely more comfortable,” she explains. “As we think about vulnerable populations, we have to think about how we can provide these cooling resources without contributing to more heat gain.”