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In a global study, a Forest Service scientist and partners found that heatwave exposure was 40% greater in the past decade in lower income regions compared to higher income regions. In more vulnerable areas, future heatwave exposure may increase up to 5-fold. This work highlights the urgent need for heat-adaptation strategies in lower income regions. Hypothesized rapid adaptation in high-income regions yields limited changes in heatwave exposure through the 21st century. By contrast, lagged adaptation in the lower-income region translates to escalating heatwave exposure and increased heat-stress inequality. Adaptation is key to minimizing heatwaves’ societal burden; however, our understanding of adaptation capacity across the socioeconomic spectrum is incomplete.

Mohammad Reza Alizadeh, John T. Abatzoglou, Jan F. Adamowski, Jeffrey P. Prestemon, Bhaskar Chittoori, Ata Akbari Asanjan, Mojtaba Sadegh

2022. Earth’s Future. 10(2): 28S, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station

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