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Beyond human endurance How climate change is making parts of the world too hot and humid to survive


Deadly heat waves have swept the globe and will continue to because of climate change.

The trends are prompting doomsday questions: Will parts of the world soon become too hot to live in? How will we survive?


When it comes to heat, the human body is remarkably resilient — it’s the humidity that makes it harder to cool down. And humidity, driven in part by climate change, is increasing.

A measurement of the combination of heat and humidity is called a “wet-bulb temperature,” which is determined by wrapping a completely wet wick around the bulb of a thermometer. Scientists are using this metric to figure out which regions of the world may become too dangerous for humans.



A man flowing Over 500W of Electricity Conducts Through His Body: Superhuman Showdown.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, was carried out by Elfatih Eltahir, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT, and Jeremy Pal of Loyola Marymount University. They conclude that conditions in the Persian Gulf region, including its shallow water and intense sun, make it “a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.”

Running high-resolution versions of standard climate models, Eltahir and Pal found that many major cities in the region could exceed a tipping point for human survival, even in shaded and well-ventilated spaces. Eltahir says this threshold “has, as far as we know...never been reported for any location on Earth.” That tipping poin