TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Monday, Feb 06, 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
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
×