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Abnormal Heatwaves And The Wet Bulb Effect Are Causing Specialists To Speak Up About How Hazardous Such Extremes Can Be To Humans
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Climate, Nature10 months ago

Abnormal Heatwaves And The Wet Bulb Effect Are Causing Specialists To Speak Up About How Hazardous Such Extremes Can Be To Humans

What the Pacific Northwest area of North America experienced just a few days ago raised quite a few concerns and ‘climate change’ might have echoed in quite a few people’s minds. Parts of the US and Canada were scorching in a heatwave that has topped all the records so far. Rob Carlmark, meteorologist in California for ABC 10, shared a concerning post on his Facebook page ‘More than Sunshine.’ And it is all about how horrifying and unusual the heatwave is. And he is raising awareness about this phenomenon that will probably re-occur again.

This frying heat has also prompted another climate expert, Matthew Lewis, to speak up on his Twitter account about ‘wet bulb’ temperatures and how dangerous they are. And some people online are admitting to being unaware of this term and how concerning and alarming it actually is.

More info: Twitter | Facebook

The latest heatwave in the Pacific Northwest of the US and Canada sparked a few climate experts to speak up about the concerning temperatures

Image credits: Rob Carlmark

In his post, Rob Carlmark stated that using the word ’horrifying’ is the most accurate when describing what has been happening in this time in history, which no one really wants to repeat itself. He starts by explaining how different regions have their respective climate that has been meticulously observed by humans over a period of time, including the vegetation, geology and other geographical matters.

Rob Carlmark, meteorologist in California, stated that this heatwave is nothing less than ‘horrifying’ and explained why

Carl shared that such anomalies like temperatures reaching highs of 110 in Portland and Seattle shouldn’t really occur. He also highlighted how unbelievable it was for weather experts to see such numbers: ‘When the computer models spit these numbers out last week, a lot of meteorologists dismissed them right away as a computer model problem.’

The meteorologist points out that ‘millions of people are in the middle of a life-changing event’ which could happen again as, unfortunately, people are currently going through it. He shared that air conditioning, although it is a solution for keeping cool in such extreme heat, will not help to change the environment.

Image credits: Rob Carlmark

Matthew Lewis, who is a clean energy and climate tech/policy veteran, following the recent heatwave, dropped another term to add to your vocabulary: ‘wet bulb’ temperature. In his initial post on Twitter with over 20k likes, he opened a discussion about human survivability and habitability. The thread that he shared is a basic one to understand what the ‘wet bulb’ effect is and what is so scary about it.

The unprecedented heatwave got another climate change professional to warn everyone about the ‘wet bulb’ temperature and what it does to humans

Image credits: mateosfo

Image credits: mateosfo

He explained how the ‘wet bulb’ example is used to describe what happens to the human body as well

Image credits: mateosfo

Turns out that ‘wet bulb’ temperature is actually the temperature+relative humidity at which water does not evaporate off a ‘wet’ thermometer bulb. Matthew explains that the air has so much humidity that evaporation does not cool the bulb anymore, making it get even hotter. This explains why humans feel that humid heat feels worse and it is not as bearable as dry heat even though the latter would have a numerically higher temperature.

Image credits: mateosfo

Apparently, if the heat is dry, humans can survive quite high temperatures

Image credits: mateosfo

Image credits: mateosfo

The climate expert stated that dry air has more capacity to absorb moisture, which in this case is sweat, which the human body uses to cool down when it’s too hot. Of course, 120 and up in a dry heat means potential death from hyperthermia for people in at-risk groups. What is more dangerous is humid air, where the body’s sweat can no longer evaporate, therefore causing the body to overheat, just like the ‘wet’ thermometer bulb. The ‘wet bulb’ condition can be fatal to humans in temperatures as low as the mid-80s.

Image credits: mateosfo

Matthew also explained that ‘wet bulb’ temperatures were extremely rare in the past and how important it is for the weather forecasters to start announcing the Human Heat Index

Image credits: mateosfo

Image credits: mateosfo

What Matthew called out is that it would be useful to be informed about the wet bulb temperature or Human Heat Index and make it public knowledge during weather forecasts as ‘wet bulb’ temperatures were quite rare in the last 40 years, but now they seem to be multiplying in different locations, making it more dangerous for people to live in such weather conditions.

Image credits: mateosfo

And the scariest thing is that there is a chance that some people will have to move from their current locations

Image credits: mateosfo

Image credits: mateosfo

His guess is that many people might have to move and try to adapt, but it might be hard. Matthew says that if we take action now, there is a chance to save these sorts of places for future generations. But are we really taking action?

Image credits: mateosfo

And this is what Twitter users were commenting about the ‘wet bulb’ temperatures and the unbearable humidity

Image credits: Dogs_ruleme

Image credits: REALmillerfinch

Image credits: starrfire71

Image credits: kinder_fiercer

Image credits: AmyTiemannPhD

Image credits: dj_soubise

Image credits: elpulpopacifico

Image credits: ArtyHlr

Image credits: pixielauren

Image credits: Mistlemoon

Image credits: mishanti2

Image credits: TM_Eubanks

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Hey pandas, what do you think?
Ray Heap
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

What bugs me is that the effects of burning fossil fuels has been known since 1977, more than enough time to do something about it. Monty Python´s "Eric the Viking" was supposed to be funny, not a prophecy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-HOYTz-rs&ab_channel=SoCalClockDoc

Dark Pigeon
Community Member
10 months ago

Even longer. As soon as the Industrial Revolution started they were warned more than once about the horrible effects for the future. But humans can and will never be able to learn to go for the long-term-gain, which kinda means 'well, it is okay for now. The next gen can fix it' . Every generation has been fighting so f*****g hard to change things around. But as long as the big companies, political parties, and anyone that .. sorry for saying it like this... 'matters' who can truly cause a change WONT DO IT! we are f****d. We really and truly are f****d. But at least we get to die in our 'home made' apocolips! so.. thats a thing

Load More Replies...
Bee / she/her
Community Member
10 months ago

It's all so scary, how the world might become uninhabitable soon, and nothing is done. What can we do, as regular people? It's not like turning off the lights for a minute is a super big change. Sure, we realize it's terrible, but I haven't found anything better to do than panic. Genuine question, what can we do?

Stephanie IV
Community Member
10 months ago

Vote. Hold your political parties accountable. Join fridays for future. Learn to live with less. Don’t eat meat. Think globally, act locally. Inform your peers. Form climate saver groups. Resist plastic. PRAY.

Load More Replies...
Neil Bidle
Community Member
10 months ago

Stop living in deserts, taking every last drop of fresh water from underground, and running A/C to keep your house like a fridge. No other animal forces their environment to work for them, and every human society in the past that has tried it, has pushed nature over the edge and collapsed. How long before we've gone too far. Crypto currency needs to be banned too; often used for crime, and the massive server farms drink power and generate heat on a Las Vegas level

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
10 months ago

I don't think that Neil was thinking about Egypt or other deserts but rather western societies building and creating cities in deserts like Las Vegas but with a western style. There was a post about architecture and a picture of a neighborhood in a highly warm country like Egypt and the comments were "EW, there is no lawn and no spaces between buildings...". Actually those countries do that to create shadow and air flow since forever. Unlike westerners who create cities in the desert but still want their precious lawns and outdoor space and overuse ACs. Meanwhile moucharabieh/machrabiyyah (a kind of wooden lattice) exists since ancient times and they are highly effective green AC's, often connected to a basin of water, in a patio to have shadow and build effectively through houses to create a flow of fresh air. No bay windows in old arabian buildings, they were actually working with their environnement and not against it. I visited a lot of those buildings and they are very fresh. moucharabi...c820b4.jpg moucharabieh-60ead62c820b4.jpg

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Ray Heap
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

What bugs me is that the effects of burning fossil fuels has been known since 1977, more than enough time to do something about it. Monty Python´s "Eric the Viking" was supposed to be funny, not a prophecy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-HOYTz-rs&ab_channel=SoCalClockDoc

Dark Pigeon
Community Member
10 months ago

Even longer. As soon as the Industrial Revolution started they were warned more than once about the horrible effects for the future. But humans can and will never be able to learn to go for the long-term-gain, which kinda means 'well, it is okay for now. The next gen can fix it' . Every generation has been fighting so f*****g hard to change things around. But as long as the big companies, political parties, and anyone that .. sorry for saying it like this... 'matters' who can truly cause a change WONT DO IT! we are f****d. We really and truly are f****d. But at least we get to die in our 'home made' apocolips! so.. thats a thing

Load More Replies...
Bee / she/her
Community Member
10 months ago

It's all so scary, how the world might become uninhabitable soon, and nothing is done. What can we do, as regular people? It's not like turning off the lights for a minute is a super big change. Sure, we realize it's terrible, but I haven't found anything better to do than panic. Genuine question, what can we do?

Stephanie IV
Community Member
10 months ago

Vote. Hold your political parties accountable. Join fridays for future. Learn to live with less. Don’t eat meat. Think globally, act locally. Inform your peers. Form climate saver groups. Resist plastic. PRAY.

Load More Replies...
Neil Bidle
Community Member
10 months ago

Stop living in deserts, taking every last drop of fresh water from underground, and running A/C to keep your house like a fridge. No other animal forces their environment to work for them, and every human society in the past that has tried it, has pushed nature over the edge and collapsed. How long before we've gone too far. Crypto currency needs to be banned too; often used for crime, and the massive server farms drink power and generate heat on a Las Vegas level

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
10 months ago

I don't think that Neil was thinking about Egypt or other deserts but rather western societies building and creating cities in deserts like Las Vegas but with a western style. There was a post about architecture and a picture of a neighborhood in a highly warm country like Egypt and the comments were "EW, there is no lawn and no spaces between buildings...". Actually those countries do that to create shadow and air flow since forever. Unlike westerners who create cities in the desert but still want their precious lawns and outdoor space and overuse ACs. Meanwhile moucharabieh/machrabiyyah (a kind of wooden lattice) exists since ancient times and they are highly effective green AC's, often connected to a basin of water, in a patio to have shadow and build effectively through houses to create a flow of fresh air. No bay windows in old arabian buildings, they were actually working with their environnement and not against it. I visited a lot of those buildings and they are very fresh. moucharabi...c820b4.jpg moucharabieh-60ead62c820b4.jpg

Load More Replies...
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