In 2010, the Russian capital became engulfed by poisonous smog from wildfires and a sweltering heat wave that killed some 55,000 people across western Russia.
Heat has killed more people in the US than tornados or other extreme weather phenomena, according to Richard Keller, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medical history. Still, those stretches may be less lethal in the future, as people become accustomed to them.
Researchers found more than 1,900 cases of locations worldwide where high ambient temperatures have killed people since 1980.
If emissions continue to rise at their current pace, three in four people in the world will face deadly heat by the turn of the century, a study published today said. "Our study shows, however, that it is warming in the tropics that will pose the greatest risk to people from deadly heat events".
Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the study's lead author says "for heatwaves, our options are now between bad or awful, these deadly heat waves are becoming common", and she expressed surprise that no major concern is shown regarding these impending dangers. Temperatures hit records of 106F, 105F and 103F in Santa Rosa, Livermore and San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, as a heat wave was forecast to continue through midweek. The human body can properly live within a small range of body temperatures around 37 Celsius degrees. Past year was the hottest on record; 2015 was the second hottest, and 2014 rounds out the top three.
Unsafe heatwaves are far more common than anyone realized, killing people in more than 60 different parts of the world every year.
"This is already bad".
"If we do the best that we can, which is the Paris Agreement, you are still going to have almost 50% of the human population impacted, which is pretty bad", Mora said. "The empirical data suggest it's getting much worse". According to the study, if climate changes will keep going on the same path, around three-quarters of humanity will have to face "lethal heat waves" on an annual basis. It forms an insulation layer which does not allow heat to escape the Earth.
Mora, the author of the University of Hawaii study, noted that the impacts of rising heat will extend far beyond simply a higher death toll, to things like "people having to take longer breaks to withstand the heat and compensate for it by working longer hours". Even higher numbers are predicted for the Southeast U.S., much of Central and South America, central Africa, India, Pakistan, much of Asia and Australia. A study also found that human activity was making the climate change 170 times quicker than its natural process, resulting in problems for plants and animal species. It's more accurate when it comes to richer areas like the United States and Europe.
The results paint a grim picture, where entire summers exceed the threshold in warmer and more humid cities like Orlando and Houston.
"When it is both very hot and humid outside, heat in the body can not be expelled", said Mora.
Header Image: In this June 4, 2017, photograph, Pakistani people bathe in a canal to beat the heat and get some relief from the extremely hot weather during the eighth day of Ramadan.
"This work confirms the alarming projections of increasing hot days over coming decades - hot enough to threaten lives on a very large scale", said Dr. Howard Frumkin, a University of Washington environmental health professor who wasn't part of the study.
Though we can't change how our bodies react to the heat (at least not on timescales this short), there are ways for society to adapt.