Venturing outdoors will soon become deadly for people living in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh due to climate change, predicts a new study.
The climate change will drive heat and humidity to new extremes, which may prove unbearable for many people.
The authors of the study, led by former MIT research scientist, Eun-Soon Im, wrote:
The most intense hazard from extreme future heat waves is concentrated around the densely populated agricultural regions of the Ganges and Indus river basins.
Why This Reports Matter More?
Although majority of the climate research and reports are based on temperature projections, this report — published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances — is rather unique because it considers humidity along with body’s ability to cool down in summers.
These factors combined are commonly known as wet-bulb temperature. It is calculated by taking the air temperature while a wet cloth is wrapped around the thermometer. This method helps in determining humidity and shows how quickly the water will evaporate.
It also helps in determining if the climate change can become dangerous or not.
Scientists claim that human can survive a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C. If the temperature exceeds from that limit, human body has trouble evaporating the sweat. It can lead to heat strokes within just a few hours, which is what happened in Karachi back in 2015.
“It is hard to imagine conditions that are too hot for people to survive for a more than a few minutes, but that is exactly what is being discussed in this paper,” said Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field, who was not involved in the study. “And of course, the danger threshold for punishing heat and humidity is lower for people who are ill or elderly.”
The wet-bulb has rarely crossed 31°C in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh but it is still considered extremely hazardous.
The study clearly states:
Both scenarios play out dangerously for South Asia. But with no limit on global warming, about 30 percent of the region could see dangerous wet bulb temperatures above 31 degrees C (88 degrees F) on a regular basis within just a few decades.
That’s nearly half a billion people by today’s population levels, though the full scale could change as the population grows. Meanwhile, 4 percent of the population — or 60 million in today’s population — would face deadly highs at or above 35 degrees C (95 degrees F) by 2100.
But if the world can limit global warming, that risk exposure declines drastically. About 2 percent of the population would face average wet bulb temperatures of 31 degrees C (88 degrees F) or higher.
This report should not be taken lightly as Pakistan and India have already seen heat waves which have resulted in over 3,500 deaths since 2015.