Summary #1126

The emergence of heat and humidity too severe for human tolerance

advances.sciencemag.org
  • Heat combined with humidity is one of the biggest natural threats to humans, as there is an upper temperature limit on our body’s cooling mechanisms.
  • At 35 Celsius air temperature, we need to sweat to cool off, but when the wet-bulb temperature (adjusted for humidity) exceeds 35 Celsius, our bodies can’t cool off.
  • In known heat wave instances, it took only 28 Celsius wet-bulb temperature to result in severe mortality rates.
  • Global data shows that instances of >=35 Celsius wet-bulb temperatures have doubled since 1979, and are happening sooner that climate models have predicted.
  • All in all, the study warns us that humid heat is a bigger problem than we thought, and it’s getting worse every year.

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