EARTH: Crippling heat stress projected by midcentury in densely populated regions

Alexandria, VA – This issue, EARTH Magazine explores the world's top weather-related killer: exposure to extreme heat. Humans' response to extreme heat leads to heat stress, an illness related to the body's inability to cool itself. Humidity plays a crucial role, because as humidity increases, the ability of sweat to evaporate and cool the body decreases.

When past studies have looked at potential heat stress vulnerabilities in a warming world, they only looked at projected air temperatures. Researchers at Columbia University wanted to further this idea by incorporating humidity because of its significance in affecting heat stress. Using climate models and weather indices such as dry- and wet-bulb temperatures, they were able to make projections to the year 2070, and found that many populations may be negatively affected. Learn about the science of heat indices, and what the global population could face with increasing global temperatures in EARTH Magazine:

Explore the science that underpins our understanding of the planet in the April 2016 issue of EARTH Magazine, available at For example, read about the work geoscientists are doing to try to understand volcanism on the Atlantic island that straddles a mid-ocean ridge. Read about how what were once thought to be sailors' tall tales about rogue waves were actually true, and decide for yourself what the absence of blueschists means for the onset of plate tectonics. All this, and much more in EARTH Magazine.


Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at: Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

Media Contact

Maureen Moses
[email protected]


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