AGW to reach…”The Edge of Wetness”…

AGW to reach…”The Edge of Wetness”… Super-hip Anthony Watts references the Johnny Carson Show to attempt a put down a press release about a paper (An Adaptability Limit to Climate Change Due to Heat Stress) that suggests the following:

Despite the uncertainty in future climate change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation.

Maximum wet-bulb temperatures from a climate scenario with mean temperature 12°C warmer than 2007. Land areas >~34°C exceed the wet-bulb limit of potentially lethal heat stress. (Purdue University/Matthew Huber)

Here’s Anthony’s snappy comeback in its entirety: “Apparently it’s not just the heat, but the humidity too.” Now that’s what I call critical thinking. How is considering the possible impact of a particular level of warming a bad thing?

2 thoughts on “AGW to reach…”The Edge of Wetness”…

  1. The abstract makes it very clear that these conditions are well beyond those of the heat waves mentioned by the commenters:

    …Peak heat stress quantified by the wet-bulb temperature Tw, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. Tw never exceeds 31°C(88°F). Any exceedence of 35°C (95°F) for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now it would begin to occur with global mean warming of about 7°C, calling the habitability of some regions into question…”

    “This map shows the maximum wet-bulb temperatures reached in a climate model…”

    Presumably a Tw of at least 35°C need last for only six hours to kill all the mammals in the area. And, presumably this could happen just in a small area.
    Whatever the large scale meteorological realities of such high temperature/high humidity conditions, I think it would be much harder to argue against the possibility on a smaller scale, such as in Saudi Arabia. And this possibility would be sufficient to end willful habitation in the general area.

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