Monday, February 25, 2013

Heat and the ability to work

Have you noticed how much harder it is to work when the temperature is high? So have some researchers, who have published an article concluding that increasing heat and humidity have already limited human (non-air conditioned) activities in the summer. According to Climate Central's report on the article, the authors have concluded that we have already lost 10% of our summer work capacity worldwide - and by 2050 we will have lost 20%.
“The planet will start experiencing heat stress unlike anything experienced today,” said study co-author Ron Stouffer, a climate modeler at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. “The world is entering a very different environment, and the impact of that on labor will be significant.”
How did the researchers come to this conclusion? They used something called "wet bulb" readings, which account for humidity and wind speed along with temperature. After comparing past levels with current, they projected the readings into the future, concluding that the heat stress will be well "beyond what is experienced in the world today." It will be a hot, wet, messy and uncomfortable world. Unless we do something about it.

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