A human body may be able to adapt to extremes of dry-bulb temperature (commonly referred to as simply temperature) through perspiration and associated evaporative cooling provided that the wet-bulb temperature (a combined measure of temperature and humidity or degree of ‘mugginess’) remains below a threshold of 35 °C. (ref. 1). This threshold defines a limit of survivability for a fit human under well-ventilated outdoor conditions and is lower for most people. We project using an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model simulations that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in the region around the Arabian Gulf are likely to approach and exceed this critical threshold under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas concentrations. Our results expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.
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This research was supported by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS). The NASA SRB were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Sciences Data Center NASA/GEWEX SRB Project.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Pal, J., Eltahir, E. Future temperature in southwest Asia projected to exceed a threshold for human adaptability. Nature Clim Change 6, 197–200 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2833
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