Climate change can make part of South Asia uninhabitable / SurprizingFacts

Source: AP Photo / Manish Swarup

Some regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh may become by the end of the century Almost unsuitable for people's lives. This gloomy forecast of climatologists will come true, if the current dynamics of increasing the average annual temperature continue. Humidity and temperature in these regions should soon reach new, record levels, authors of the new climate model of South Asia believe. If global warming occurs, about a third of the population of the Indo-Gangetic plains will be forced either to leave their homes, or to stay and somehow adapt to the new conditions.

And it will not be easy to adjust, if at all possible. "The most intense temperature increase in the future will occur in the densely populated agricultural regions of the Ganges and the Indus," a study conducted by a group of scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said. The work of the scientists headed by Yon-Sung Yim differs from similar climatological studies in that not only the increase in temperature but also the change in the humidity level are taken into account. But this is also one of the key factors affecting the quality and standard of living of people.

Actually, not only the quality and standard of living, but the very life and health of a person depends on humidity and temperature. The fact is that in regions where it is humid and hot, the body is very difficult to adapt – our entire system of temperature exchange is designed for the possibility of evaporation of liquid from the surface of the body. And if the humidity is 100%, then there will be no evaporation, and the body overheats. If it is a question of a couple of hours, there can be no problems. But if the regime "for wear and tear" works constantly, on health it will be reflected in the most negative way. Of course, local residents have developed certain adaptation mechanisms for many hundreds of years of hot and humid climate, but everything has a limit, the resources of the organism are not inexhaustible.

In some regions of the Earth, where the temperature is very high, one can still live Dry climate. But in regions where it is both hot and very humid, it can soon become impossible to live. Thermal shock in such conditions can be followed within a few hours of staying outdoors.

"Now it is difficult for us to imagine that somewhere on Earth there can be conditions in which a person can not stay even for a few minutes, but this problem is discussed in our article," says Chris Field, a scientist From Stanford, who took part in the study. "And of course, the danger of harm to health in a hot humid climate is most relevant for those who are sick, or whose body is weakened – for example, for the elderly."

Source: AP Photo

The most vulnerable category of population in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are poor farmers and workers. They are constantly outside the premises (and in their homes, the temperature and humidity are about the same as in the open area), so in South Asia this category of people is in the "climate risk" group.

In order to test their point of view, scientists conducted the processing of statistical data on a powerful computer system, subsequently building a digital model of climate change in South Asia. In this model, the scenario was used, according to which the average annual temperature on the Earth will rise by 2-3 degrees in the next several decades in comparison with the pre-industrial level while maintaining the level of greenhouse gas emissions. The situation will be very difficult even if people can achieve some reduction in emissions. And with the first and second scenario, the increase in temperature will affect about a third of the population of the above-mentioned regions. The average annual temperature in this case will be about 31 degrees Celsius. By the end of this century, the temperature will reach 35 degrees Celsius with a high level of humidity. In this case, about 60 million people will not be able to live in their native places, they will have to resettle.

The main problem for the Ganges and Indus region is lowland, high precipitation in summer and, accordingly, a high level of humidity. There are also many rivers and many irrigation systems created by man for many years. High temperature + evaporation = high humidity.

If the mankind can curb warming, the risks are reduced and very significantly. According to the authors of the study, the problem they showed in their work can be fully resolved. The main thing is to observe the paragraphs of the Paris Agreement (of which, incidentally, the US has recently withdrawn). True, even if the warming process is delayed, South Asian residents will still have problems. But in the latter case, far fewer people will suffer than when developing the scenarios described above.

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