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Majority Of World Population To Face Deadly Heat Waves By 2100

First Posted: Jun 21, 2017 06:07 AM EDT
Extreme Heat Sign
Heat waves rise near a heat danger warning sign on the eve of the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race.
(Photo : David McNew/Getty Images)

It may be too late to reverse the effects of climate change. Most recently, scientists noted that 74 percent of the world's population will be exposed to deadly heat waves by 2100 if the level of carbon dioxide emissions continues at the same rate it is going today.

In fact, even if the emissions can somehow be reduced aggressively, the world is still looking at a 48 percent exposure by the said time frame. Camilo Mora, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said, "We are running out of choices for the future. For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible."

Mora also said that many people around the world are facing heat waves. However, their study showed that if this will continue, conditions could become much, much worse. In fact, it could be deadly.

As The New Indian Express noted, the human body can only adjust to a limited range of core body temperatures, usually around 37 degrees Celsius. Heat waves could be especially risky to human life because hot weather, aggravated high humidy and rise of core body temperature can lead to conditions that are threatening to human life.

The team of researchers is led by Mora. In their extensive review of the situation, they found over 1,900 cases of locations where high ambient temperatures already killed people since 1980. Even today, already about 30 percent of the world's human population is exposed to these deadly conditions. Some of the cities that are alrady experiencing lethal heatwaves include major cities like New York, Washington, Toronto, London, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney and São Paulo.

U.S. News also noted that Mora's study already noted the well-documented heatwaves. One of these included a five-day stretch that killed hundreds in Chicago in 1995. A European heat wave in 2003 also saw tens of thousands of deaths. Even in Moscow, more than 10,000 were killed due to lethal temperatures in 2010. However, the numbers reached around 50,000 in the entire country.

Heatwaves, as it turned out, are more common than people think. In fact, humidity levels, combined with heat, play a major role in this kind of deaths.

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