Feeling the heat? It's about to become more intense, says study!

A team of researchers examined 1,949 deadly heat waves from around the world since 1980 to look for trends, define when heat is so severe it kills and forecast the future.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Jun 20, 2017, 12:19 PM IST
Feeling the heat? It's about to become more intense, says study!

New Delhi: Climate change is increasing its havoc-causing tendencies on a daily basis and people around the world are definitely feeling the heat.

The soaring temperatures have been making the summer season unbearable due to its rising intensity and as per reports, this is not even the beginning.

A new study has said that the killer heat waves – similar to the ones now broiling the American West – are just about to get worse, since they are bigger killers than previously thought and are have the potential to grow more frequent.

However, the comprehensive study fatal heat conditions also suggested that those stretches may be less lethal in the future, as people become accustomed to them.

A team of researchers examined 1,949 deadly heat waves from around the world since 1980 to look for trends, define when heat is so severe it kills and forecast the future. They found that nearly one in three people now experience 20 days a year when the heat reaches deadly levels. But the study predicts that up to three in four people worldwide will endure that kind of heat by the end of the century, if global warming continues unabated.

"The United States is going to be an oven," said Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii, lead author of a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The study comes as much of the US swelters through extended triple-digit heat. Temperatures hit records of 106, 105 and 103 in Santa Rosa, Livermore and San Jose, California yesterday, as a heat wave was forecast to continue through midweek. In late May, temperatures in Turbat, Pakistan, climbed to about 128 degrees; if confirmed, that could be among the five hottest temperatures reliably measured on Earth, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of Weather Underground.

Last year 22 countries or territories set or tied records for their hottest temperatures on record, said Masters, who wasn't part of the study. So far this year, seven have done so.

"This is already bad. We already know it," Mora said. "The empirical data suggest it's getting much worse." Mora and colleagues created an interactive global map with past heat waves and computer simulations to determine how much more frequent they will become under different carbon dioxide pollution scenarios. The map shows that under the current pollution projections, the entire eastern United States will have a significant number of killer heat days. Even higher numbers are predicted for the Southeast US, much of Central and South America, central Africa, India, Pakistan, much of Asia and Australia.

Mora and outside climate scientists said the study and map underestimate past heat waves in many poorer hot areas where record-keeping is weak. It's more accurate when it comes to richer areas like the United States and Europe. If pollution continues as it has, Mora said, by the end of the century the southern United States will have entire summers of what he called lethal heat conditions.

(With PTI inputs)