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For humans the Persian Gulf may soon be too hot to handle

The Middle East is heating up due to global warming, and in a hundred years may be uninhabitable for humans, at least without the AC on.

The Persian Gulf is already infamous for its extreme temperatures. Thermostats regularly top 120 degrees fahrenheit in the Gulf, making it one of the hottest places on Earth. Now, as global warming warms the planet as a whole, scientists are warning that the Gulf could become too hot for humans.

A recent scientific study has found that by the end of the century, summers in some parts of the Gulf could become too hot for humans to handle. Specifically, some coastal cities, such as Dubai, could see temperatures exceed the human habitability index.

What does this mean? Even the healthiest and fittest humans wouldn’t be able to survive extended periods of time outdoors. While temperatures in the region are known to exceed comfortable levels often enough, a healthy, fit person should be able to ride out the heat.

In a hundred years, that might not be true.

Perhaps most worrisome, the Islamic holy city of Mecca may also reach this threshold. Given that the city sees millions of pilgrims each year, such soaring temperatures could quickly become a major problem.

The study focused on what’s called the “wet-bulb temperature,” which looks at humidity and evaporation rates averaged over several hours. The survivability limit for the wet-bulb temp is set at 95 degrees F, or 35 degrees C. Essentially, wet-bulb temperatures are set with a combination of both heat and humidity.

At temperatures above the 95 degree F wet-bulb temperature, the human body is no longer able to shed heat through perspiration. Instead, the body starts to absorb heat from the environment.

In essence, this means that humans lose their ability to control their own body heat. Even with ample supplies of water and being in perfect physical shape, it becomes all but physically impossible for humans to survive.

Such extreme temperatures are rarely seen on Earth, but if global warming continues unabated, they could become the norm in parts of the Middle East, and potentially elsewhere.

 

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