WASHINGTON — Rising global temperatures could push the sun-baked cities of the Persian Gulf across a threshold unknown since the start of civilization: the first to experience temperatures that are literally too hot for human survival.
A scientific study released Monday warns that at least five of the region’s great metropolises could see summer days that surpass the ‘‘human habitability’’ limit by the end of the century. Heat and humidity would be so high that even the healthiest people could not withstand more than a few hours outdoors.
The report, in the journal Nature Climate Change, says booming cities such Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha could cross the threshold if temperatures continue to rise at current rates. Not far behind is the Saudi holy city of Mecca, a destination for millions of Muslim pilgrims every year.
On the hottest days, inhabitants of those cities could experience a combination of heat and humidity so high that the human body is no longer capable of shedding the excess heat through perspiration, according to the report’s authors, a pair of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Loyola Marymount University.
‘‘Our results expose a regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future,’’ the authors write.
The report examines different scenarios over the coming decades, focusing on a key heat measurement known as the ‘‘wet-bulb temperature,’’ which includes humidity and evaporation rates, averaged over several hours. A wet-bulb temperature of 95 degrees is regarded as the survivability limit for healthy people.
For years, scientists have postulated that parts of Earth could cross the 95-degree mark in future centuries if global warming continues. But that day could come much sooner for cities in the Persian Gulf, where temperatures soar well beyond 110 degrees in the hottest summer months, the researchers said.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha already suffer from high heat-index values that contribute to high rates of heat stroke among outdoor workers. But the authors warn that city planners will have to make major adjustments as temperatures begin to cross the lethal 95-degree threshold.
‘‘It is an upper limit to adaptability to climate change due to heat stress,’’ MIT researcher Elfatih Eltahir said.
The report is the latest to highlight dangerous weather extremes that could be experienced in the relatively near future if atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases continue to rise at current rates.
A policy statement released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics warned of significant new health threats to children if global temperatures continue to climb — from higher rates of heat-related illnesses to outbreaks of diseases normally associated with the tropics.
‘‘Children are uniquely at risk to the direct impacts of climate change,’’ said Samantha Ahdoot, lead author of an AAP policy statement published in the research journal Science.
‘‘Some of the scariest prospects from a changing clime involve conditions completely outside the range of human experience,’’ Chris Field, a climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science, told the Associated Press in an e-mail
‘‘If we don’t limit climate change to avoid extreme heat or mugginess, the people in these regions will likely need to find other places to live,’’ said Field, who was not part of the study.
Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington’s public health school, who wasn’t part of the research, said: ‘‘When the ambient temperatures are extremely high, as projected in this paper, then exposed people can and do die. The implications of this paper for the Gulf region are frightening.’’
Catholic patriarchs, cardinals, and bishops representing five continents appealed to climate negotiators on Monday to approve a ‘‘transformative’’ and legally binding agreement that sets global temperature limits.
Representatives of bishops’ conferences from around the globe signed the appeal in a renewed push to encourage climate negotiators meeting in Paris next month to heed Pope Francis’ call to protect God’s creation and the poor who suffer most from its exploitation.
Beijing, Oct 12 (PTI) China today said it will continue to strengthen defence cooperation with India as the two nations’ armies kicked off the fifth round of annual anti-terror military drills in the Chinese city of Kunming aimed at enhancing mutual understanding, communication and cooperation.
“The drills will play a significant role in safeguarding domestic security and strengthening mutual trust between militaries of both sides and contribute to the sound development of bilateral relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying told a media briefing here.
“We will continue strengthen our cooperation on national defence and inject more positive energy to our bilateral ties,” she said replying to a question.
India fielded a contingent of 175 troops from 2nd Battalion of Naga Regiment from Eastern Command which also looks after the border with China while China deployed troops from 14 Corps of China’s Chengdu Military Region, whose focus is on Indian borders.
Both sides pressed same number of troops for the joint exercises, which will culminate on October 22, a press release by the Indian Embassy here said.
The purpose of the exercise is to develop joint operating capability, share useful experience in counter-terrorism operations and to promote friendly exchanges between the armies of India and China, the embassy said.
Troops from both sides will undergo intensive joint training, which will include displays, demonstrations, and a comprehensive joint exercise during the drills.
The three-phase integrated exercises include armament display, military demonstration, and troop training, it said.
The armament display includes light weapons and equipment for military engineering and logistics, while the demonstration will feature shooting, group tactics and unarmed combat, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
In the second phase, troops will be trained in combat, anti-terrorism tactics, humanitarian aid and disaster-relief communication and the two sides will also conduct joint manoeuvres. .
New Delhi, Oct 8 (PTI) 11 nuclear scientists had unnatural deaths during 2009-13 in the country, latest data provided by Department of Atomic Energy shows.
Eight scientists and engineers working in laboratories and research centres of the Department died in a blast or by hanging or drowning in the sea.
In its RTI response to Haryana-based Rahul Sehrawat dated September 21, the department said three scientists of Nuclear Power Corporation had also died under mysterious circumstances during the period of which two allegedly committed suicide and one had died in a road accident.
The bodies of two scientists of C-group posted at BARC, Trombay were found hanging in their residences in 2010, while one scientist of same grade posted at Rawatbhata was found dead at his residence in 2012.
In one case of BARC, police claims that he committed suicide because of prolonged illness and closed the case while the remaining cases are still under investigation.
Two research fellows at died in a mysterious fire in the chemistry lab of BARC, Trombay in 2010.
A scientist of F-grade was found murdered at his residence in Mumbai. It is suspected that he was strangulated but the murder accused remained untraced till date.
A D-grade scientist at RRCAT also allegedly committed suicide with police closing the case.
Another scientist posted at Kalpakkam allegedly jumped into the sea to end his life in 2013 with the case is still under probe whereas a Mumbai based scientist committed suicide by hanging, with police citing personal reasons for the same.
One scientist allegedly committed suicide by jumping into Kali river in Karwar, Karnataka with police again pointing at personal reasons
Thousands of gallantry medals may be returned to the government soon, if veterans who have been protesting the delay in the implementation of the one rank one pension policy have their way. Ex-servicemen, who have been on a relay hunger strike since June at Jantar Mantar, will be asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet […]
National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval is grappling with a face-off between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Army. The Army has objected to the government’s plan to build a raised embankment along the 179-km stretch of the international border (IB) in Jammu district, a senior Home Ministry official told The Hindu. The […]