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Tue Aug 27, 2019, 09:27 AM

Can We Survive Extreme Heat? Humans have never lived on a planet this hot.

Rolling Stone
AUGUST 27, 2019 9:00AM
By JEFF GOODELL

Humans have never lived on a planet this hot, and we’re totally unprepared for what’s to come

...As the mercury rises, people die. The homeless cook to death on hot sidewalks. Older folks, their bodies unable to cope with the metabolic stress of extreme heat, suffer heart attacks and strokes. Hikers collapse from dehydration. As the climate warms, heat waves are growing longer, hotter, and more frequent. Since the 1960s, the average number of annual heat waves in 50 major American cities has tripled. They are also becoming more deadly. Last year, there were 181 heat-related deaths in Arizona’s Maricopa County, nearly three times the number from four years earlier. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2004 and 2017, about a quarter of all weather-related deaths were caused by excessive heat, far more than other natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

...How hot will it get? That depends largely on how far and how fast carbon-dioxide levels rise, which depends on how much fossil fuel the world continues to burn. The Paris Climate Agreement (which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of) aims to limit the warming to 3.6°F (2°C). Given the current trajectory of carbon pollution, hitting that target is all but impossible. Unless nations of the world take dramatic action soon, we are headed for a warming of at least 5.4°F (3°C) by the end of the century, making the Earth roughly as warm as it was 3 million years ago during the Pliocene era, long before Homo sapiens came along. “Human beings have literally never lived on a planet as hot as it is today,” says Wehner. A 5.4°F-warmer world would be radically different from the one we know now, with cities swamped by rising seas and epic droughts turning rainforests into deserts. The increased heat alone would kill significant numbers of people. A recent report from the University of Bristol estimated that with 5.4°F of warming, about 5,800 people could die each year in New York due to the heat, 2,500 could die in Los Angeles, and 2,300 in Miami. “The relationship between heat and mortality is clear,” Eunice Lo, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol and the lead author of the report, tells me. “The warmer the world becomes, the more people die.”

...The Maricopa County Department of Public Health reported its first heat-related death of 2019: A homeless man had been found dead in a vehicle near downtown. No name or other details were released... the worst of the summer heat hadn’t arrived yet, and as the temperatures rise in Phoenix and cities around the world, superheated by the civilized world’s insatiable appetite for fossil fuels, there are so many deaths to come.

Long article that is worth the read

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/climate-crisis-goodell-survive-extreme-heat-875198/

24 replies, 3139 views

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Reply Can We Survive Extreme Heat? Humans have never lived on a planet this hot. (Original post)
bronxiteforever Aug 2019 OP
Mike 03 Aug 2019 #1
bronxiteforever Aug 2019 #4
Stryst Aug 2019 #11
dalton99a Aug 2019 #2
bronxiteforever Aug 2019 #5
The_jackalope Aug 2019 #7
kozar Aug 2019 #8
ProudMNDemocrat Aug 2019 #3
The_jackalope Aug 2019 #6
ancianita Aug 2019 #16
yaesu Aug 2019 #9
bucolic_frolic Aug 2019 #10
roamer65 Aug 2019 #12
in2herbs Aug 2019 #13
calimary Aug 2019 #17
in2herbs Aug 2019 #21
Oppaloopa Aug 2019 #14
bronxiteforever Aug 2019 #19
cstanleytech Aug 2019 #15
SCVDem Aug 2019 #18
LiberalFighter Aug 2019 #20
Politicub Aug 2019 #22
Mountain Mule Aug 2019 #23
bronxiteforever Aug 2019 #24

Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 09:39 AM

1. Chart in this article...

There's a chart labeled "Earth's Increasing Average Surface Temperature." There's a large bump right after 1940.

Does anybody think that could be due to World War II?

Thanks for posting. Great article, rather scary stuff.

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 09:48 AM

4. Interesting about the map. I think you are right

About WW2. Maybe it was the massive growth in industrialization and fossil fuels used in that process?

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 10:41 AM

11. Yes, it is

It's also related to early refrigeration technology. CFCs had a lot of other terrible problem, but they were still far more efficient refrigerants than anything developed before.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 09:43 AM

2. And outside arid areas, it's the wet-bulb temperature

95 F wet-bulb is the upper limit of human survivability when the humidity goes up

As humidity increases, so does the wet-bulb temperature. Because we never hit a wet-bulb temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit in today’s climate, it’s hard to say what the societal effects would be. But wet-bulb temperatures between 84 degrees and 88 degrees Fahrenheit (29–31ºC) have been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths around the world. A wet-bulb temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30ºC) was recorded during a heat wave in 2015 in the southeastern coastal Indian state of Andhra Pradesh that killed at least 2,500 people.

The risks are starkest for places that already see high heat and humidity, like the Persian Gulf and the Tropics. And some of the regions most at risk of these spikes are the most densely populated — places like Northeast India, East China, West Africa, and the Southeastern U.S.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 09:50 AM

5. That is pretty frightening stuff.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 10:08 AM

7. Yeah, wet-bulb predictions are terrifying

And they are starting to happen even before the global average temperature rise gets into unsurvivable territory.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 10:09 AM

8. yep wet bulb means more than

anything. If you can indulge an old man. As one who has slept in 100 wet temps without air conditioning. I would have never thought of any kind of sex in those conditions, so it is not only heat related deaths,, but lack of births at same time? In my mind,,that adds a bigger constant into all the facts.

Koz

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 09:48 AM

3. Parts of the world will BOIL, as others will FREEZE....

There will be no happy medium.

I am concerned that I will be in the deep freeze area, as we get those Polar Vortexes that begin in Siberia and swoop down over the North Pole into Canada, then the upper Midwest.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 10:06 AM

6. 5.4 F? The long term rise we have locked in now is about 9.5 F (5.5 C)

CO2 concentration is currently ~410 ppm. But when you count in other GHGs like NH4, NO2 etc the CO2e level is about 700ppm. And it's still rising.

See pages and 22 here: http://www.apollo-gaia.org/Beyond%20the%20Summit.pdf

It wouldn't surprise me to see a long-term rise of 7 or 8 degrees C. That is well past full-on human extinction territory. If we stopped making things worse today.

We're fvcked.

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Response to The_jackalope (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 11:47 AM

16. We can avoid apocalyptic suffering by building a million carbon capture machines at $30,000 each.

We'll really need at least one hundred million to get just at 2.0 degrees. It will cost 40% of the world's GDP... and what else do we ever do anything for but ultimately our descendants.

We can't avoid extremes and some catastrophes for them, but we can buy time with these machines in uninhabitable areas to shift to clean energy quickly in habitable areas, shore up electrical energy for preserving the Internet communications for global collaboration, shift agriculture north and set up redistribution networks of food and water.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 10:12 AM

9. causing some places to cool off as my state that never did see a 90 deg temp this summer

and had its first 32 deg night a few nights ago.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 10:30 AM

10. Yes the species will survive

but once civilization collapses, there is no electricity, no air conditioning, only those living in caves will survive. If they can still obtain food.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 10:45 AM

12. Humans are going find out what the late Cretaceous was like.

Temps were about 4C higher and CO2 was over 1000 ppm.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 11:40 AM

13. The very reason that climate change MUST be the primary concern of any D, especially the president.

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Response to in2herbs (Reply #13)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 11:50 AM

17. That's why I'm still upset about losing Jay Inslee as a candidate.

This won’t end well.

But maybe it will force population control on us whether we want it or not. The human death rate will rise. Disturbingly so.

Shit - I was reading about some GOP Congressman Sean Duffy, who just resigned to spend more time with his family. And his wife, who’s having complications with her NINTH pregnancy. There’s a NINTH baby on the way???? He’s got EIGHT kids already and Number NINE is in the works now? Um ... when does this asshole plan to stop? If ever? Has he ever heard of ZPG (Zero Population Growth)? How does he plan to provide for them? Will his unfortunate wife die too soon because she’s literally been fucked to death?

I say that, because I personally know a family to whom that happened. They were NOT wealthy. Beleaguered wife died during her eleventh pregnancy. Her ELEVENTH!!! Her poor body just finally gave out. She was buried with the fetus having been removed from her body and actually placed in her arms in her casket. And dad, who claimed it was his “heritage” to keep seeding all those babies no matter what, and keeping his wife crankin’ ‘em out whether her body could take it or not, was left with ten motherless kids to deal with and try to raise on his own.

I could not help feeling outraged. Yes, I know it’s really none of my business and it’s not my place to judge or lecture. And we did our best to help that family in multiple ways. But Hell, I almost died giving birth to TWO. It was so rough on my body that my husband was first to declare that we were NOT having any more. And I heartily agreed.

That poor woman! Somebody’s need to prove his so-called “manhood” actually killed his life-partner and left all those kids without a mother - some of them still quite little (when a child needs Mommy most intensely). Honestly, how’d that work out for ya, dude?

I apologize for sounding insensitive. But we’re at seven BILLION+ now, and our planet CANNOT sustain such extremes of human overpopulation. There won’t be enough room, enough housing, enough food! Enough clean drinkable water! Enough sanitation services and health services, and on and on and on. The migration of desperate people heading north to more livable (but dwindling) temperate zones (what remains of them anyway) will only multiply, and you know how well that goes over here with certain groups of voters already. This is NOT sustainable! Not for long, anyway. We’re killing our planet. AND ourselves.

And it SURE AS HELL isn’t “pro-life.”

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Response to calimary (Reply #17)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 12:26 PM

21. I'd like to see Inslee at the top of an energy post, say Sec of Energy?? Maybe Trump and R's gag

rule on NGOs to prohibit them from prescribing birth control to women in depressed countries should become part of the climate change narrative?

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 11:42 AM

14. This is one of the many reasons we are moving out of Florida shortly.

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Response to Oppaloopa (Reply #14)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 12:21 PM

19. Sad but smart. Florida doesn't do well with rising seas too.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 11:44 AM

15. Can we? Yes as other mammals have. We would of course have to change some things such as how and

where we live.
For example we would probably have to start building our homes underground as using the earth as barrier to high extremes of heat.
Also we would have to develop better water reclamation tech not to mention crops that take very little water to grow and that can tolerate the heat.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 12:07 PM

18. Evolve or die.

 

Once again, natural selection will choose.

Only those resistant to high heat and humidity will live, passing those traits along.

I don't see that as being a large number.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 12:25 PM

20. More roads, more parking lots, more centralized living --

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 12:27 PM

22. In hindsight, this may be seen as a period of evolutionary punctuated equilibrium

If humans survive, it will be ones with the traits or means to survive in a planet where much of it is as hot as Phoenix in the summertime.

The rich are already buying units in condo developments built under ground. Some may call them fallout shelters. If you have looked at the sales websites for these developments, they are built with luxury in mind; they are not meant for the middle or lower classes. It is hard to call a condo that happens to have a dining room and den a place for mere survival.

So a thousand years from now, if humans are able to survive, the industrialization era in the 1800s through the end of the year 2100 will be seen as the time humans engineered their own demise and destroyed the planet for its children. The legacy of the modern era will be destruction.

I don’t hold out a lot of hope that the momentum toward turning earth into a hellscape can be stopped.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 12:44 PM

23. The SouthWest will soon be unlivable

Not only have we been experiencing heat waves, we also are struggling with a climate change related drought that has been going on now for almost 20 years. Water levels in Lake Mead as well as Lake Powell have been falling almost every year. The major cities of the SW like Phoenix and Las Vegas are heavily dependent on Mead for their water and the Colorado River is being used for irrigation at an unsustainable rate. Of course all these things are a "hoax" perpetuated by "globalists" and the "coastal elite." If IQ45 gets a second term, we can say goodbye to our planet.

Great article - thanks for posting it!

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Response to Mountain Mule (Reply #23)

Tue Aug 27, 2019, 12:48 PM

24. +1000

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