Drop Dead ‘Cause It’s HOT!

I probably should have noted this earlier but it’s such nonsense I thought, why bother? So anyway, get this, in the future, global warming will make it so hot, people will just DIE!

Steven C. Sherwood and Matthew Huber,2010: An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0913352107

I am not kidding. There are parts of the world that will apparently experience uninhabitable temperature conditions, hot and humid to the point that people will die just from the heat. “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.” Yes. It will get so hot that wet-bulb temperatures will regularly reach ~35 degrees Celsius almost everywhere that people live, and apparently it is impossible to live with such heat. You can’t adapt to it, apparently. Considering the fact that this would, according to them, require global warming in excess of seven degrees Celsius, quite a high number by almost anyone’s standards, it doesn’t seem to be all that important to be concerned about it. But let’s be serious here for a second. Human beings are very resilient creatures, and we live, even thrive, in nearly ever climate on Earth. Sometimes it does get too hot for people, and sometimes those people don’t know to seek shelter in the air conditioning indoors, true enough. But does anyone really believe there is a temperature that the outdoors can reach that it becomes impossible for us to adapt? Really? I must be crazy, because I known that almost no one dies of heat stress in wealth, warm climates-Tampa has essentially no heat related mortality. And I know that even as the cities of the US have gotten warmer, heat related mortality has fallen. Does anyone really buy that people are going to start dropping like flies, stupid, sizzling flies, if it gets hotter? Puh-leeze!

I also recommend the technical comments of Roger Pielke Senior.

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2 Responses to “Drop Dead ‘Cause It’s HOT!”

  1. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    Andrew,

    I remember you attend college in Florida. Is this correct?

  2. timetochooseagain Says:

    Yes indeed. FAU. Suffice it to say I have considerable experience with hot and humid weather, and it has never killed me. Sometimes I think it’s going to kill me, but then I’ve always been rather dramatic about being slightly uncomfortable. It’s a generational thing, I think.

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