Study warns of se­ri­ous peril from heat by 2100

The Washington Post - - THE WORLD -

Cli­mate change could make much of South Asia — home to a fifth of the world’s pop­u­la­tion — too hot for hu­man sur­vival by the end of this cen­tury, sci­en­tists warned Wed­nes­day.

If cli­mate change con­tin­ues at its cur­rent pace, deadly heat waves be­gin­ning in the next few decades will strike parts of In­dia, Pak­istan and Bangladesh, ac­cord­ing to a study based on com­puter sim­u­la­tions by re­searchers at the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy.

Key agri­cul­tural ar­eas in the In­dus and Ganges river basins will be hit par­tic­u­larly hard, re­duc­ing crop yields and in­creas­ing hunger in some of the world’s most densely pop­u­lated re­gions, re­searchers said.

“Cli­mate change is not an ab­stract con­cept, it is im­pact­ing huge num­bers of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple,” MIT pro­fes­sor El­fatih El­tahir, the study’s co-au­thor, told the Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion.

Cur­rently, about 2 per­cent of In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion is some­times ex­posed to ex­treme com­bi­na­tions of heat and hu­mid­ity; by 2100, that will in­crease to about 70 per­cent if noth­ing is done to mit­i­gate cli­mate change, the study said.

Heat waves across South Asia in sum­mer 2015 killed an es­ti­mated 3,500 peo­ple. Sim­i­lar events will be­come more fre­quent and in­tense as the years go by, re­searchers said.

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