I have been warning about this sort of development for years:
In South Asia, a region of deep poverty where one-fifth of the world’s people live, new research suggests that by the end of this century climate change could lead to summer heat waves with levels of heat and humidity that exceed what humans can survive without protection.
Unfortunately, the article is poorly researched (or highly edited) because it goes on to include these highly misleading claims:
There is still time to avert such severe warming if measures are implemented now to reduce the most dire consequences of global warming. However, under business-as-usual scenarios, without significant reductions in carbon emissions, the study shows these deadly heat waves could begin within as little as a few decades to strike regions of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, including the fertile Indus and Ganges river basins that produce much of the region’s food supply.
It’s well-known that temperatures in this region will exceed tolerable limits – no matter what we do now. So this first sentence is pure unadulterated b.s., which satisfies the editors and avoids the essential panic that is well overdue. Very typical these days.
Going onto the second sentence, there is supposed a “few decades” before such heat waves will strike. This too is dishonest as hell, since these heatwaves are already occurring and have been for several years.
Major heat waves in 2010, 2013 and 2015 killed thousands of people; the 2015 event was the fifth deadliest heat wave on record, killing 3,500 people in India and Pakistan.
Of course, elevated temperatures are not unique to Asia, they occur all over the world (particularly in the Arctic which has seen dramatic temperature rise).
Atlanta is projected to see 69 days above 95°F, Boise could spend 80 days above that threshold while Dallas is on track to have 140 days above 95°F. Then there’s Phoenix, where residents could have to contend with more than half of the year above 95°F (163 days in case you’re wondering).
Many small towns will suffer even more. Alva, Fla., (population 2,182) could see 142 days above 95°F while Salton City, Calif., (population 3,763) could have to cope with a mind-bending 203 days where the mercury tops out at 95°F or higher.
I have warned about wet-bulb temperatures many, many times before on this blog. This is a stupendously dangerous issue that is being broadly ignored. Wet-bulb temperatures are a combination of air temperature and humidity levels – which once the tolerable limits are exceeded, people, plants and animals die.
It is generally thought that a wet-bulb temperature of 95°F (35°C) is the limit of what even a healthy human can endure over a few hours. Wet-bulb temperatures have rarely exceeded 88°F (31°C) anywhere on Earth, but are starting to bump up to such levels around the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, in South Asia and eastern China.
“These are the emerging hotspots for heatwaves,” Eltahir said.
Pushing the Limit
He and his colleagues previously looked at how heat waves would evolve with warming in the Middle East and found that region will likely be home to the highest wet-bulb temperatures the world will see. (Bandar Mahshahr in Iran hit a wet-bulb temperature of nearly 95°F during a 2015 heat wave, which translates to a heat index of about 163°F (73°C).) But South Asia poses the bigger concern in terms of threats to people, as it is home to one fifth of the world’s population and is an area of deep poverty.
When you read climate news, there is a strong emphasis on placing everything far off into the future, where you will already be dead and only your children will suffer. But it’s still far enough off to avert any real worry or concern – for you.
Climate journalism is absolutely stuffed full of these type of dishonest reports. I’m absolutely disgusted with what passes for climate journalism.