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1 lostlakehiker  Sun, Jun 20, 2010 7:14:49pm

130 would be impressive. When I visited India they were in the middle of a heatwave and the daily highs were running around 117 fahrenheit. It was not yet the monsoon season, of course, so humidity was not a problem.

We touristed anyway, but it took a lot of water to stay hydrated. People worked, even in construction, and there were some fifty dead a day but nobody could afford to quit their job and no employer could afford to miss his completion date so the work went forward.

I would bet that I could so survive walking around in mid-day heat of 130, given adequate water and suitable clothing, and that so could most adults and adolescents. As to those who cannot, wait out the noonday heat and resume activity when things cool to around 100. The elderly and infants are in real trouble unless there is a shelter with some thermal mass. These could be dug or built given a few years lead time to realize that they're going to be needed. A civilized nation can also supply its people with drinking water in abundance. India had set up street corner drink stations in the downtown, so anybody could just hold out their hand and get an iced drink.

But this sort of heat wave is a crushing blow to crop yields. They cannot dig themselves a hole and wait out the noonday heat. Heat waves don't come with rain; the crops will be low on water going into them. And we can't wait out a failed harvest. The danger these heat waves pose is not so much death by heat stroke, though that will be the fate of some, but hunger. And it won't be so easy to just open new farmland in the Yukon, NW Territories, and Siberia. The soil there is not well suited to farming, with occasional river valley exceptions, and even if they become much warmer, they still won't get much sunlight. With scant sunlight, crop yields will not match our current yields from more temperate latitudes.

2 Interesting Times  Sun, Jun 20, 2010 8:49:13pm

re: #1 lostlakehiker

I would bet that I could so survive walking around in mid-day heat of 130, given adequate water and suitable clothing, and that so could most adults and adolescents.

This reminds me of a statement made by Phillipe Cousteau Jr in a recent interview - when asked if the "oceans could take any more", he replied that no, they couldn't, and then drew the following analogy: if you lose both legs, an arm, and an eye, yes, you can certainly "survive" - but your quality of life is severely diminished. Along those lines, yes, you're correct that certain people could technically "survive" in 130-degree heat, but for how long, and with what kind of "quality of life"?

3 Cheese Eating Victory Monkey  Mon, Jun 21, 2010 3:23:57am

According to the hellish future charts on that blog, the only comfortable cities will be Seattle, Portland, and maybe San Francisco. Small towns in Maine and the Rocky Mountains will be the only other escapes from brutal longer summers.

4 lostlakehiker  Mon, Jun 21, 2010 8:52:06am

re: #2 publicityStunted

This reminds me of a statement made by Phillipe Cousteau Jr in a recent interview - when asked if the "oceans could take any more", he replied that no, they couldn't, and then drew the following analogy: if you lose both legs, an arm, and an eye, yes, you can certainly "survive" - but your quality of life is severely diminished. Along those lines, yes, you're correct that certain people could technically "survive" in 130-degree heat, but for how long, and with what kind of "quality of life"?

Heat waves don't last forever. It's important to understate the case modestly, because any overreach will be punished. A heat wave of 130 is a disaster for a nation, but not because it simply fells millions in their tracks. Those temperatures, sustained for a few hours, are deadly only for the relatively few who overwork, whose thermoregulation is undeveloped or impaired, or who lack ample drinking water.

Hunger is less forgiving, and crops will fail in the wake of such a heat wave. When it hits one country, others can pitch in. When it hits several, or most, we're screwed.

5 MKelly  Mon, Jun 21, 2010 9:08:06am

Asia Tirat Tsvi, Israel June 21, 1942 129 F 54 C

Although tragic headline is not correct. Above is credited with highest temperature in Asia. I put in the F and C as the table column header did not copy.


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