Study predicts more deadly heat from climate change
• Extreme events may soon affect 350m people
• Urges interventions to cope with rising temperatures
A new study has reported that deaths related to extreme heat are expected to keep rising, even if most nations are able to contain global warming at agreed-upon levels. The new study was published online March 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Nigerians should prepare for more deadly heat from climate change, which could lead to rise in cases of illness and death. Already, meningitis which is heat-related has killed 211 persons and affected 1,407 others within three months.
The researchers warned that by 2050, more than 350 million people living in ‘megacities’ would be hit with deadly heat waves every year – regardless if nations reach climate change targets.
The new study has found that even if countries limit global warming to below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2C), which is required by the Paris Agreement, 44 of the most populated cities in the world will still experience the lethal events.The analysis showed that not only has the number of megacities experiencing heat waves doubled,it has occurred with only 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5C) of warming.
Lead researcher and an applied climatologist at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom, Tom Matthews, said: “As the climate warms, the number and intensity of heat waves increases. Research has shown this to be the case for the global warming experienced to date, and our research is the latest to show that we can expect even larger increases as the climate continues to warm.”
Even if global warming is halted at Paris goals, the megacities of Karachi (Pakistan) and Kolkata (India) could face annual conditions similar to the deadly heat waves that gripped those regions in 2015.During the 2015 heat waves in those areas, about 1,200 people died in Pakistan and more than 2,000 died in India.
To examine the impact of global warming on human heat stress, the researchers used climate models and looked at how global temperature change could affect heat stress projections in the world’s largest cities.
The investigators concluded that it is likely there will be more land surface area exposed to dangerous heat stress. They also noted that areas already experiencing heat stress would have more frequent and longer heat waves.
The researchers at Climate Central explain that when temperatures reach those experienced on ‘danger days’ – when the ‘feels like temperature exceeds 104 °F (40 °C) – it becomes difficult for the body to cool itself. This can lead to dehydration, exhaustion, dizziness, and other problems in the body – and often, even death.
During danger days, people are at risk of sunstroke and heat exhaustion, and physical activity or extended time outdoors could even lead to heat stroke. The combination of high heat and humidity poses serious risks to many people, especially infants and young children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions.
The Paris Agreement was passed with no objections in 2015 by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, bringing to an end four years of discussions and debates.
Nearly 200 nations adopted the global pact, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution – but imposing no sanctions on countries that don’t.
Countries that signed the 31-page document will be expected to work towards limiting global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2C) above pre-industrial levels.