Sorry, Grandpa: It Really Is Harder to Bear the Heat Now
Blame air conditioning
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2012 5:14 PM CDT
Yep, it's hot.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – It's hot times in Indianapolis, notes the Star, and by end-of-day tomorrow, the city will likely have hit four consecutive triple-digit days. How miserable, right? Well, maybe not compared to 1936, when it weathered nine days of 100-degree heat in a row. But go ahead and whine: The Star talked to experts who say it really may be harder for us to bear the heat than it was for our grandparents, partially because we've been spoiled by Slurpees and air conditioners. "Back then, they had a lot less amenities to help," says National Weather Service program leader Earl Breon.

University of Miami researchers report that the worst cases of heat-related illness and death aren't necessarily due to how brutal the heat wave is, but how variable the weather tends to be in said location. So, for instance, people (and buildings) in a hot spot like Arizona can handle heat better than those in Indianapolis. And it's the sudden changes, not the longevity of the heat wave, that do the most damage, says Breon. "The data suggests the first few days of a heat wave are the most impactful. Over time, you do kind of get acclimated to the hot weather, the longer it lasts."