TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Sunday, Dec 03, 2023

Dangerous heat predicted to hit 3 times more often in future

Dangerous heat predicted to hit 3 times more often in future

What’s considered officially “dangerous heat” in coming decades will likely hit much of the world at least three times more often as climate change worsens, according to a new study.

In much of Earth’s wealthy mid-latitudes, spiking temperatures and humidity that feel like 103 degrees (39.4 degrees Celsius) or higher -- now an occasional summer shock — statistically should happen 20 to 50 times a year by mid-century, said a study Monday in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.

By 2100, that brutal heat index may linger for most of the summer for places like the U.S. Southeast, the study’s author said.

And it’s far worse for the sticky tropics. The study said a heat index considered “extremely dangerous” where the feels-like heat index exceeds 124 degrees (51 degrees Celsius) — now something that rarely happens — will likely strike a tropical belt that includes India one to four weeks a year by century’s end.

“So that’s kind of the scary thing about this,” said study author Lucas Zeppetello, a Harvard climate scientist. “That’s something where potentially billions of people are going to be exposed to extremely dangerous levels of heat very regularly. So something that’s gone from virtually never happening before will go to something that is happening every year.”

People rest in the shade of a tree on a hot summer afternoon in Lucknow in the central Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, April 28, 2022.


Zeppetello and colleagues used more than 1,000 computer simulations to look at the probabilities of two different levels of high heat -- heat indexes of 103 degrees (39.4 Celsius) and above 124 degrees (51 Celsius), which are dangerous and extremely dangerous thresholds according to the U.S. National Weather Service. They calculated for the years 2050 and 2100 and compared that to how often that heat happened each year across the world from 1979 to 1998.

The study found a three- to ten-fold increase in 103-degree heat in the mid-latitudes even in the unlikely best-case scenario of global warming limited to only 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times -- the less stringent of two international goals.

There’s only a 5% chance for warming to be that low and that infrequent, the study found. What’s more likely, according to the study, is that the 103-degree heat will steam the tropics “during most days of each typical year” by 2100.

Chicago hit that 103 degree heat index level only four times from 1979 to 1998. But the study’s most likely scenario shows Chicago hitting that hot-and-sticky threshold 11 times a year by the end of the century.

Heat waves are one of the new four horsemen of apocalyptic climate change, along with sea level rise, water scarcity and changes in the overall ecosystem, said Zeppetello, who did much of the research at University of Washington state during the warming-charged 2021 heat wave that shattered records and killed thousands.

“Sadly, the horrific predictions shown in this study are credible,” climate scientist Jennifer Francis of the Woodwell Climate Research Center, who was not part of the study team, said in an email. “The past two summers have provided a window into our steamy future, with lethal heat waves in Europe, China, northwestern North America, India, the south-central U.S., the U.K., central Siberia, and even New England. Already hot places will become uninhabitable as heat indices exceed dangerous thresholds, affecting humans and ecosystems alike. Areas where extreme heat is now rare will also suffer increasingly, as infrastructure and living things are ill-adapted to the crushing heat.”

The study focuses on the heat index and that’s smart because it’s not just heat but the combination with humidity that hurts health, said Harvard School of Public Health professor Dr. Renee Salas, who is an emergency room physician.

“As the heat index rises, it becomes harder and harder to cool our bodies,” Salas, who wasn’t part of the research team, said in an email. “Heat stroke is a potentially deadly form of heat illness that occurs when body temperatures rise to dangerous levels.”

The study is based on mathematical probabilities instead of other climate research that looks at what happens at various carbon pollution levels. Because of that, University of Pennsylvania climate scientist Michael Mann is more skeptical of this research. It also doesn’t take into account landmark U.S. climate legislation that President Joe Biden signed earlier this month or new efforts by Australia, he said.

“The obstacles at this point are political and no statistical methods, regardless of how powerful or sophisticated can predict whether we will garner the political will to overcome them,” Mann said in an email. “But there is reason for cautious optimism.”

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
Close
0:00
0:00
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×