The five hottest years on record, ranked by their departure from the 20th-century average temperature. Courtesy of NOAA NCEI, Barbara Ambrose

Can We Take the Heat?

An unusually warm April is recorded in an unusually warm year in an unusually warm decade

Yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019 as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, the Met Office Hadley Centre (United Kingdom), and the Cowtan and Way analysis. Graphic: NASA’s Earth Observatory
Spots in the U.S. Southeast where heat index (sometimes called “real feel” temperature) reached 125 degrees Fahrenheit, bumping up against the theoretical limit of human survival, between 1979 and 2017. Green dots = one such occurrence, orange = three, and red = 10. Image: Colin Raymond

Independent health and science journalist, former editor-in-chief of LiveScience, writing about how we age and how to optimize your mind and body through time.

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