Deadly heat waves—already a risk for 30 percent of the world's population—will spread around the globe, posing a danger for 74 percent of people on Earth by the end of this century if nothing is done to address climate change, according to a new study.
|An increasing percentage of the planet faces deadly heat for 20 or |
more days per year, with one-third of the world's population currently at risk
Nearly as alarming, the researchers project that even if greenhouse gases are aggressively reduced, at least 48 percent of the population will still face deadly heat waves by 2100 because of the amount of long-lived heat-trapping gases that already have accumulated in the atmosphere.
"We're running out of good options for the future," said lead author Camilo Mora, a biologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. "For heat waves, our options are now between bad or terrible.”
The new study comes as near-record heat is forecast for this week in California and the U.S. southwest, with the temperature expected to soar to 120 degrees in Phoenix, and as severe heat grips parts of Europe, contributing to forest fires that have killed at least 60 people in Portugal.
Read the Inside Climate News story by Marianne Lavelle - “Deadly Heat Waves Could Endanger 74% of Mankind by 2100, Study Says.”