Generally the same climatic controls that influence cold temperatures also apply to hot temperatures. The sun, however, is the major agent in determining the heat gradient for people and places. Feeling the heat, not unlike feeling the cold, is similarly a state of mind or the temperament of the person affected.
It seems everyone loves to talk about how the weather is changing, or how different it is compared to how they remembered it to be in years past. Some justify their views by citing the signs of climate change recognized by many scientists who contend that a global warming trend is starting to take place. They provide research data that show that the atmosphere has warmed by about one degree in the twentieth century, and that the global sea level has risen by up to ten inches in the past 100 years due to a mean temperature increase. They also attribute the 10 percent rise in the frequency of rainstorms and snowstorms, as well as the upswing in the frequency of winter cyclones in recent years to the worldwide warming phenomenon. In the United States the hottest July ever was recorded in 1998.
The climate change theory is conveniently offered as a rationale when explaining prolonged heat waves that periodically stifle various regions of the country during the summer months. Persistently high temperatures over an extended period coupled with abnormally high humidity reduces the body's ability to cool itself, causing a wide range of adverse impacts on human health, even death. People become greatly enervated when the heat index--what hot weather "feels like" to the average person--reveals high readings for both temperature and humidity. A case in point indicates that the body's sensible temperature would feel like it was 136 degrees F when the real temperature is 95 degrees F and the relative humidity 80 percent. Sunstroke and heat exhaustion are likely when the heat index reaches 105 degrees F.
Sunstroke is caused by excessive exposure to the sun and is charac-