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Extreme heat posing threat to cities worldwide, study finds

Researchers said the threat of rising temperatures could lead to more deaths and economic impacts in major cities around the world.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new report shows the threat rising temperatures could have on major cities worldwide, leading to more deaths and economic impacts. 

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, extreme heat could kill more people, reduce productivity and hurt economies. The study looked at more than 13,000 cities from 1983 to 2016. 

Researchers found urban heat exposure increased by nearly 200% during that time. Using satellite data, researchers said more people are flocking to rapidly urbanizing areas in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, two areas increasingly vulnerable to rising temperatures. 

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"Increased exposure to extreme heat from both climate change and the urban heat island effect — total urban warming — threatens the sustainability of rapidly growing urban settlements worldwide," the report states. "Extreme heat exposure is highly unequal and severely impacts the urban poor."

Researchers said exposure patterns highlight an "urgent need" for local adaptations and early warning systems to reduce harm from urban extreme heat in cities worldwide. 

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