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Extreme Heat Will Change Us

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It was 5:30 a.m. in Kuwait City when Abdullah Husain, 36, left his apartment to walk his dogs. The sun had barely risen, but the day was already so sweltering and the air so laden with vapor that it coated his body in a hot film, sticking his clothes to his skin.

In the summer, he said, he has to get the dogs out early, before the asphalt gets so hot that it will burn their paws.

“Everything after sunrise is hell,” he said.

Abdullah, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at Kuwait University, lives a very different life from Kadhim in Basra. But both men’s days are shaped by inexorable heat.


Basra and Kuwait City lie only 80 miles apart and usually have the same weather, with summertime temperatures climbing into the triple digits for weeks on end.

But in other ways, they are worlds apart.

Both places produce oil, but in Kuwait it has produced great wealth and provided citizens with a high standard of living.

This vast economic gap is never…



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