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The existential threat posed by humid heat waves due to global warming

Srinivasan, J (2022) The existential threat posed by humid heat waves due to global warming. In: Current Science, 123 (3). pp. 247-248.

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In 2010, Sherwood and Huber (Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 107, 9552–9555) showed that there is a limit to how far human beings can adapt to humid heat waves that will occur in the future. The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere increases by 7% for every one-degree Celsius rise in temperature. Hence humid heat waves will be more severe in the future because of an increase in both temperature and humidity. The number of heat waves and forest fires has increased dramatically in the past few decades due to global warming. The heat waves that are widely reported are those with temperatures above 40°C. These are dry heat waves, and they occur in the pre-monsoon season and hence the relative humidity during these periods is not high. Several methods are available to adapt to such heat waves. The India Meteorological Department has been able to predict heat waves about a week in advance and various ‘heat action plans’ have been developed to reduce morbidity and mortality during dry heat waves. When the ambient relative humidity is low, evaporative cooling is the best way to adapt to these heat waves.

Item Type: Editorials/Short Communications
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2022 05:41
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2022 05:41
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/76410

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