Future temperature in southwest Asia projected to exceed a threshold for human adaptability

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Abstract

A human body may be able to adapt to extremes of dry-bulb temperature (commonly referred to as simply temperature) through perspiration and associated evaporative cooling provided that the wet-bulb temperature (a combined measure of temperature and humidity or degree of "mugginess") remains below a threshold of 35 °C. (ref.). This threshold defines a limit of survivability for a fit human under well-ventilated outdoor conditions and is lower for most people. We project using an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model simulations that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in the region around the Arabian Gulf are likely to approach and exceed this critical threshold under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas concentrations. Our results expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.

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Pal, J. S., & Eltahir, E. A. B. (2016). Future temperature in southwest Asia projected to exceed a threshold for human adaptability. Nature Climate Change, 6(2), 197–200. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2833

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