The world is not only getting hotter but also more humid, and new research by Washington State University scientists shows people living in areas where humid-heat extremes are already a significant hazard are bearing the brunt of the impact. 

summer heat wave in the city

Their study, published earlier this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, presents the timing, frequency and severity of extreme humid-heat and dry-heat events and recent trends using hourly data at a spatial resolution of about 25 km or 15.5 mi.

“We identify a greater increase in population exposure to humid-heat as compared to dry-heat, emphasizing the importance of understanding humidity changes in a warming world,” said study lead author Cassandra Rogers, a postdoctoral research associate in the WSU Vancouver School of the Environment.

Most of Europe, northern South America, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the island chains between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Northern Hemisphere oceans, have experienced statistically significant increases in both dry and humid-heat extremes, according to the researchers’ analysis.

Their study, published earlier this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, presents the timing, frequency and severity of extreme humid-heat and dry-heat events and recent trends using hourly data at a spatial resolution of about 25 km or 15.5 mi.

“We identify a greater increase in population exposure to humid-heat as compared to dry-heat, emphasizing the importance of understanding humidity changes in a warming world,” said study lead author Cassandra Rogers, a postdoctoral research associate in the WSU Vancouver School of the Environment.

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