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It's Not The Heat, It's The Humidity - How Global Warming Will Kill

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Most of the current debate about global warming is really silly and misinformed - boots on the ground it really doesn't matter if this is caused by human action generating CO2 or if it is a natural process. If the planet heats up just a small amount we will get wild weather and global warming. A relatively small increase in average temperature will kill most of the human race just from the heat, not considering any of the theoretical changes to crops or sea level.

Since George Bush retired and scientists were no longer punished financially for explaining that global warming was happening, a lot of new research has emerged.

One extremely scary study by researchers at Purdue and the University of New South Wales, Australia, shows that we may all experience the same critical conditions which are already killing off many species such as the Polar Bear.

http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html

The basic problem is that, surprisingly, while people argued about what was causing global temperatures to go up and others were asking what difference a few degrees would make, no one had actually researched just how hot it would have to get to make vast land masses unlivable by humans.

We've all experienced hot days. Los Angeles has had temperatures well over 110 degrees F. just this year and people live and even work in deserts or on baking hot city streets in July. But has anyone ever done it in really high humidity?

The reason people can walk outside in a Los Vegas August is simple, they perspire and the evaporating water cools them.

But what happens when you heat up locations AND increase humidity?

Simple, people outside or without air conditioning die.

It happened in France back in 2003 when nearly 15,000 people died of heatstroke.

The 26 October 2010 issue of New Scientist reports more people die of heatstroke in the U.S. than hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, but that doesn't make spectacular TV so it doesn't really get reported.

The Purdue/NSW study shows that sustained temperatures over 95 degrees at high humidity will kill the average (not just sick or elderly) human.

Other studies have shown that current trends indicate global temperatures will rise 7 degrees F by 2010 and 25 degrees F eventually.

The new study says nothing about what causes global warming or even if it is occurring, rather it demonstrates that IF measured global warming continues at the same rate much of planet earth will become unable to support human life exposed to the atmosphere.

"ABSTRACT

An Adaptability Limit to Climate Change Due to Heat Stress

Steven C. Sherwood, Matthew Huber

Despite the uncertainty in future climate change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming.

Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature Tw, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. Tw never exceeds 31 [degrees] C.

Any exceedence of 35 [degrees] C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible.

While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7[degrees] C, calling the habitability of some regions into question. With 11-12 [degrees] C warming, such regions would spread to encompass the majority of the human population as currently distributed.

Eventual warmings of 12 [degrees] C are possible from fossil fuel burning. One implication is that recent estimates of the costs of unmitigated climate change are too low unless the range of possible warming can somehow be narrowed. Heat stress also may help explain trends in the mammalian fossil record."

See Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A.

http://www.pnas.org/content/107/21/9477.full?sid=0c32cf0e-27c5-42ab-9941-510dfa8d5f7d

Citizens can also access the latest unbiased scientific research at EurekAlert!

http://www.eurekalert.org/

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.

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