Unsurvivable heatwaves could hit the heart of China by 2070
A recent study released by two MIT researchers suggests that Northern China is set to become uninhabitable by the end of the century if global-warming does not slow down.
BEIJING, CHINA — A recent MIT study suggests that Northern China could become uninhabitable by the end of the century.
The North China Plain is home to 400 million people and one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It is the core of the country and includes the capital: Beijing.
But it's also an important agricultural area, where intensive irrigation leads to higher humidity in the air. This point is particularly important according to Elfatih Eltahir and Suchul Kang, the two researchers behind the study.
To determine survivability in hot weather, they used an index called the wet-bulb temperature, which takes into account both humidity and temperature.They found that above a wet-bulb temperature of 35 degree Celsius (equivalent to 95 Fahrenheit), even a healthy person staying in the shade may not be able to survive.
Using detailed model simulations of the area, they found that if global warming continues at the same pace, northern China will be the most critical hotspot in the world. If other areas — such as the Gulf or southern Iran — might be facing similarly dangerous heat waves in the future, they're far less densely populated than northern China. According to the researchers, these humid heat waves could 'push the area against the boundaries of habitability'.
China is currently the first-ranked country in the world for greenhouse gases emission, just before the U.S.
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