Global climate change

Increase in very humid days may make some regions of the world unlivable in 50 years

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
12/27/2017, 5:47:57 PM

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New research from Columbia University Earth Institute concludes that very humid days will occur at about double the rate of high-temperature days alone in about 50 years. The combination of increasing humidity and temperatures may make parts of the world uninhabitable for at least a part of the year.

“You rapidly approach a situation where it’s thermodynamically impossible to keep your body cool,” Radley Horton, an associate research professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a co-author of the study said.

The wet bulb temperature is the lowest temperature that can be reached by evaporating water into the air. The wet bulb temperature is always less than or equal to the actual air temperature.

Wet bulb temperatures of 84-88 degrees Fahrenheit have been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths worldwide, according to the report.

Based on the results of this study, we may see wet bulb temperatures rising into the 90s on a regular basis across parts of the world by the 2070s

The highest risk areas for this deadly mix of temperature and humidity will likely be in areas such as the Persian Gulf, northeast India, the tropics and even the Southeast U.S.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Global climate change