South Asia is warming up.

A new study seems to confirm that South Asia will face a threat in the future from heat and humidity driven by global warming. At least 30% of the millions of people living there may be exposed to this deadly combination.

We humans cannot easily survive in areas where the humidity is high, or what is called the “wet bulb” temperature recorded by weather stations. If wet bulb temperatures in our environment are greater than 35C then our ability to sweat and to dissipate heat diminishes and even the most fit individual would die in around 6 hours.

Even a wet bulb temperature of 31C is a dangerous level for most people. In 2015, in India and Pakistan a heat wave killed 3500 people. This new study seems to show that we would go from zero people affected by wet bulb temperatures to 30% of the people affected in the area. A lot of people work in agriculture in those areas.

The only solution is to keep the increase of the worldwide temperature to just over two degrees for the worst case scenarios to be averted. And India and Pakistan would not see deadly heat waves arriving every year and killing thousands of people. But the prospects of this happening is now seriously in doubt.

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