Updated: Aug 28
For at least 30 years, expert climatologists have been warning about threatening climate change. The desire for money, power and control has brought us to the brink, but the majority of people still do not see that we are standing on the brink. The fact is that climate change is becoming more and more relentless, and the challenges we will face in the future will be mainly related to the events that will result from climate change. We don't have time to take comprehensive action today, but we can mitigate the consequences and look for solutions for the future.
The world is warming more and more, which is why life is becoming unbearable for people in many regions around the equator.
At this stage, even if we manage to limit global warming to 2˚C above pre-industrial levels, new estimates show that in the tropics and subtropics; including India, the Arabian Peninsula and sub-Saharan Africa, by 2100 most days will be extremely hot.
In the middle latitudes, there will be intense heat waves almost every year, according to a new study. In the American city of Chicago, for example, by the end of the century, the number of dangerous heat waves could increase by as much as 16 times.
What are the chances of avoiding that fate? About 0.1 percent, if we limit warming to below 1.5 ˚C above pre-industrial temperatures, and experts believe that by 2050 we will most likely exceed 2˚C of warming.
"In that case, an extremely dangerous heat wave will be a regular feature of the climate in sub-Saharan Africa, parts of the Arabian Peninsula and much of the Indian subcontinent," experts say.
If we do not work globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and introduce other measures to prevent climate change, there will likely be many deaths in the world. But every small step that contributes to reducing temperatures is still important because it will also mean a lower number of human casualties, writes Science Alert.
Recent estimates show that global warming is already responsible for one in three heat-related deaths. Based on these rates, studies predict that in the coming decades, as global warming worsens, people will die in record numbers.
How people cope with heat stress, a dangerous condition that can lead to organ failure, depends on several factors; like moisture. Current estimates are based on a metric known as the heat index that considers relative humidity only up to certain temperatures.
Recent research has shown that the human body may not be able to handle as much heat and humidity as this index indicates. As it stands now, 93°C on the heat index is considered the upper limit of what a human can survive at all. But at 100 percent humidity, even young and healthy people may not be able to live above 31°C.
Nevertheless, according to the traditional heat index, temperatures are considered dangerous when they exceed 40°C, and extremely dangerous when they exceed 51°C. The new research used this metric to predict future habitability, so there's a good chance the estimates actually underestimate the looming threat.
However, even by this standard, the outlook for humanity looks dire. Between 1979 and 1998, the dangerous heat index threshold was exceeded every day in the tropics and subtropics by 15 percent. In that period, it was rare for temperatures, according to the index, to become extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for the current period, and the problem is only getting worse.
By 2050, tropical regions could exceed the dangerous heat index on 50 percent of days each year, and on most days by 2100.
"It is likely that, without major reductions in emissions, large parts of the global tropical and subtropical regions will experience heat index levels above those considered dangerous for much of the year by the end of the century," the scientists said.
Source: Communications earth & environment, Probabilistic projections of increased heat stress driven by climate change