Is High Heat The New Normal?

We’re asking if boiling summer temperatures are going to be the new normal. And if it’s so, how will we cope?

Mayor Fred Paris pours one of the 250 bags of ice into the Franklin Memorial Swimming Pool in Franklin, Ind., Thursday, July 21, 2011. Temperatures are expected to climb into the high 90's with heat index well over 100. (AP)

Mayor Fred Paris pours one of the 250 bags of ice into the Franklin Memorial Swimming Pool in Franklin, Ind., Thursday, July 21, 2011. Temperatures are expected to climb into the high 90's with heat index well over 100. (AP)

“Heat dome” has to be the phrase of the week. Everybody talking about heat dome, heat dome.

Killer temperatures — too often literally — over a huge section of the country.

The hottest place on Earth two days ago: Minnesota, for heaven’s sake.

It’s a summer for the record books. One thousand record highs across the country.

And this word from the weather and climate gurus: there’s more to come.

Hot hot summers, with climate change, for years. How will we cope? With our habits, our buildings, our crops, our clothes.

This hour On Point: coping with a hot, hot, hot new normal.

-Tom Ashbrook


Heidi Cullen, research correspondent and scientist for Climate Central, she’s the author of “The Weather of the Future.” Her op-ed in the New York Times Wednesday was, “The Sizzle Factor for a Restless Climate.”

Christopher Field, professor of biology and Environmental Earth Science at Stanford University, where he is also director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology.

Matt Fajkus, professor at the University of Texas School of Architecture.

Andrew Jorgenson, professor of sociology, University of Utah.

From Tom’s Reading List:

This hour we’ll hear the following songs:

  • “(Love is Like a) Heatwave’ by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
  • “Hot, Hot, Hot” by Buster Poindexter & The Banshees of Blue
  • “Cool River” by Maria Muldaur
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