#AGU15 It's not the killer heat, but the killer humidity

This looked interesting, but then I saw that Noah Diffenbaugh was involved, and it looks like just more of the same gloom and doom he’s been professing for years. Maybe I’ll stop in at the press conference for their poster to see if I’m right about that.


Humidity May Magnify Killer Heat

Ethan Coffel & Radley Horton, Center for Climate Systems Research 

Heat is the world’s leading weather-related killer, but most future projections leave out a huge magnifier: the added effects of humidity. Using new global projections of “wet bulb” temperature–combined heat/humidity—the scientists suggest that by mid-century, regions populated by hundreds of millions could see potentially fatal conditions never encountered by modern people. The heat would affect not just health, but infrastructure, power generation and economies. Large areas could become essentially uninhabitable. The team looks specifically at the U.S. East Coast, India, West Africa and eastern China.

Monday, Dec. 14, 8am-12:20pm, Moscone South Posters.   GC11A-1016

PRESS CONFERENCE: Monday, Dec. 14, 5pm: Impacts of Heat Stress on Densely Populated Areas in the 21st Century. With Coffel, Horton and Noah Diffenbaugh (Stanford University).

54 thoughts on “#AGU15 It's not the killer heat, but the killer humidity

  1. “… Using new global projections of “wet bulb” temperature …”
    Oh, right. The predictions of dry bulb temperatures have proven to be garbage, so lets add another variable to add to the mix and predict the combined effects, that’s the ticket …

    • More humidity=MORE RAIN. During Ice Ages, it was very dry across much of the planet and we had this desert form in Africa called the Sahara. During much warmer eras of our planet it was much warmer and much more humidity which caused gigantic fern forests to grow and die in such volume, they created ‘coal’ seams.

  2. I am not very good with math, but most of the chaotic math examples I have seen are feedback loops. Is this puppy also postulating something that inhibits the tendency of atmospheric moisture to form clouds, and like, RAIN? It does seem to be something of a complex theory.

  3. Great. Now the ecochondriac global warming freakazoid wackadoodles will want to eliminate water vapor emissions now that the CO2 crisis has been solved in Paris.

  4. “The team looks specifically at the U.S. East Coast, India, West Africa and eastern China”
    I thought most of those places already were uninhabitable, the first time I went to New York was for the 1964 World’s Fair. I remember getting off the plane at Laguardia and thinking “this place smells really bad.”

  5. “the scientists suggest that by mid-century, regions populated by hundreds of millions could see potentially fatal conditions never encountered by modern people”
    110% humidity?

  6. Which one will win the race, land flooded by rapidly increasing sea level or the atmosphere flooded by rapidly increasing humidity – either way I’m so scared as usual (sarc)

  7. I’ve lived in the tropics with high humidity. Clothes rot and leather goes moldy overnight. So do walls. Prickly heat has to be experienced to be believed and those croc-filled waterholes start to look very inviting. I always joked that a person must not stand still or they’ll grow mold up one side.
    Point is, you get used to it.
    Why do they think modern man is such a delicate flower? Oh, I know, it’s because they need another scare story. Of course. Got it.

  8. For temperatures above about 75 F, the dew point is a good indicator of comfort. Dew point is the reduced temperature for a constant amount of water vapor that will result in 100% relative humidity (RH). For a constant RH, a 1-degree rise in temperature results in about a 1-degree rise in dew point. Data over land at a number of U.S. mid-continent latitudes and seasons show RH drops about 0.3% / F. This would typically mean that dew point would rise a little less, about 0.8 F per F warming.

    • But keep in mind, most of global warming from CO2 is in the colder climates with less water vapor in the air. This is because the absorption IR spectrum of water vapor overlaps about half of that of CO2. More water vapor cuts CO2 warming.

  9. It’s clear the areas with the highest humidity have the highest temperature. That’s why death valley is cooler than places on the equator. Let’s see, google equator climate:
    Macapa Brazil avg highest temp 32.6 C
    Pontianak indonesia = 33.4 C
    Death valley = 47C
    That can’t be right, the paper says killer humidity and high temps.
    Why you might ask.
    Energy required to raise air at 115F to 117F at 6% rh ~ .73 btu/lb (death valley)
    energy required to raise air at 93.7F to 96F at 60% rh ~ 2.26 btu/lb (equator)
    Takes about 3x (in this case) the energy for the same temp increase if the air is humid vs. dry. If temps increase, the air can hold more water, which requires even more energy to warm it further. This alone disproves the runaway climate models for me.

    • I agree, the greater the humidity the less the temperature extremes. Desert regions can see a 50F swing in temperature while humid tropics vary less than 10F. Water vapor is as much or more a temperature stabilizer than it is a GHG in stark contrast to what I think is the most egregious lie by the eco-terrorist climate scammers, that WV only “amplies warming”.
      Global warming is likely causing a reduction of extremes in daily temperature swing by virtue of more WV in the atmosphere.

      • I once lived (as a child) in Death Valley for a while. It is hot during the day and gets quite cold even in summer at night. I recall standing in the school yard during the afternoon careful to turn my back to the sun or my toes would fry in my sneakers from the sun shining on my feet.
        We were constantly warned to dress warm as the sun set.

    • the “dim” part is the researchers involved in this travesty of academic thought processes. Like the dudes above say, it is not possible that their claims are true.

  10. I mapped the geology in the Sahel of northern Nigeria for three years with temperatures up to the mid forties C and for a month before the rains, the humidity would build up – you had to leave before the rains, not because of the humidity but because one used streams for roads in remote country and you’d better not be on the wrong side of the main streams when the rains started. You’s be stranded until they were over. I was never sick one day in my stay and man was I in superb shape. At night, you slept in a mud hut with grass roof, set aside for visiting government field officers in any moderately sized village. No air condioning but a deep concrete bathtub which I had filled to the brim for my return from the field. I lowered myself into it up to my neck – it actually felt cold on the skin. I lay back with a “three rings” cigarette and a cup of tea to recuperate. No problem sleeping!

    • I was in Puerto Rico near Mayaguez on and off for a few months in the summer. Power black-outs were common but it was usually restored by ~9pm so my hotel room was usually cool enough but one night the power just stayed off. By midnight I was dying drenched in sweat and to make it worse it was a full moon and the roosters were crowing with my windows wide open. So I decided to go out to the pool and cool off – over half the hotel was in it! Some people even had devised crude ways to sleep while floating in it.

  11. It is a sign of the Warmistas desperation, that they are searching about desperately for some validation other than dry-bulb temperature to buttress up their failed theories. More humid weather means more water in the atmosphere and more water means that more heat is required to raise temperature. Hence, wild temperature variations in the deserts and stable low-range daily repeating temperatures in the tropics. I don’t think that this new scare will run anywhere, let alone walk.

  12. I knew it. Water vapor is even more dangerous than CO2. Time to stop this killer in its tracks. Next up, the silent killer, Nitrogen. And lurking behind the nearest tree, the deadly Oxygen. Time to get people to the Moon and save us all.

      • The answer lies with machines scattered across the landscape, like the “artificial trees” meant to capture and store CO2, or the giant wind generators, which give us free energy. These “atmospheric water harvester” machines could then dehydrate the water for storage underground, or in big undersea balloons.

  13. Well, damn, I thought it was only the Persian Gulf that was going to be uninhabitable. … Wrong, again apparently.

  14. Heat is the world’s leading weather-related killer

    Wow, a lie to begin with straight away.
    It’s been between 98% and 100% relative humidity today, yet some how we managed to survive through it in the cold.
    Cold is the world’s leading weather-related killer and alone kills ten of thousands of people a year just in the UK.

    Using new global projections of “wet bulb” temperature–combined heat/humidity—the scientists suggest that by mid-century………..

    They have been shown on here to be nonsense and rely on extremely high SST’s that only cover a tiny fraction of the Earth around the Persian Gulf due to shallow water depth. A desert region away from water body needs a air temperature of 76 degrees C to maintain dangerous wet bulb levels above 35 c.

    • I don’t suppose that Ethan and Radley compared population density of hot and cold parts of the planet. It’s odd that there are more people living around the warmer bits of the planet (excluding deserts).

  15. Has the good Dr been to Florida in mid July? Did the good Dr watch the last World Cup in Brazil?
    Humans have a wonderful ability to adapt. Now if someone could only invent a device that when put in motion would circulate the air to increase evaporation on the skin. Perhaps it could be something that could be large enough to move lots of air in an entire room or small enough to hold in your hand for personal use. I would certainly be a fan of such a device. Hmmm. what should it be called?

    • We humans invented ‘sweat’. Doggies, for example, sweat via their tongues. We do it through the skin. Nearly unique in this matter.

  16. The newest greatest danger to mankind now that CO2 is whipped is aerial irrigation. Big Agriculture has just landed in the cross-hairs (beer makers take notice!).

  17. For me it is lack of wind that makes things uncomfortable, more of my sweat returns to where it came from, this is where wind turbines are useful, driven in reverse as fans.

  18. Climate Wimps
    I visited the US State of Georgia about 50 miles inland from Savanna once in June. I noticed the folks born in the area did not seem concerned with the heat and humidity. I was in Tucson in June when the temp went to 117° F. Much the same thing – locals adjusted but really seemed not to care.
    Both places seemed quite uncomfortable to me – but I’m still here.
    My hypothesis would be that Coffel/Horton/Diffenbaugh are wimps from places with benign climates; thusly called climate wimps.

  19. In 70s I presented in my research papers — human comfort — that wet bulb temperature exceeding 28 oC create severe heat wave conditions that kill people in Bihar state in India.
    Due to Western Disturbances, if the heat wave moves in the eastward direction towards Bihar state in India, with the local humid conditions, the wet bulb temperature goes up. If this exceeds 28 oC, the severity increases.
    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  20. Talk about old hat. The CMIP models have been banging on about increased water uptake tripling raw CO2 forcing for time out of mind. What they failed to consider, and therefore went off the rails, was that much of that uptake is going into low-level clouds, a counteracting negative feedback.

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