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South Asia could face deadly heat and humidity by the end of this century

Climate predictions show extreme future temperatures in India and Pakistan

3:15pm, August 2, 2017
Rajasthan, India

TURNING UP THE HEAT  People living in regions of India, including Rajasthan where this image was taken, will experience extreme and potentially deadly heat waves by the end of the century, a new study shows.

India and Pakistan are no strangers to extreme temperatures. In 2015, two heat waves killed more than 3,500 people there. But by the end of the century, new climate simulations suggest, extreme heat and humidity could put hundreds of millions at risk of death.

Published online August 2 in Science Advances, the simulations show fairly specifically where future heat waves will be most dangerous if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated: densely populated agricultural areas in South Asia, particularly in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“The results of this study are of concern,” says climate scientist Christoph Schär of ETH Zurich. In the regions that will be affected, the majority of people don’t live in cities, but villages near coastal areas and low-lying river valleys where they cultivate crops and tend livestock. Many are poor with limited access to air

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