South Asia may soon become uninhabited

Further increase in temperature and a sharp increase in air humidity will make virtually all of India and other states of South Asia unsuitable for human life.

“About 1.5 billion people live in this region, most of whom live in conditions in which their lives depend directly on their personal farmland, and they need to be looked after every day for several hours in the open sun. Asia is particularly vulnerable to such climate change, “says Elfatih Eltahir of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).

As Eltahir and his colleagues note, about three quarters of South Asian residents today live in areas that will not actually be suitable for life in a century. They came to this conclusion, trying to understand how the so-called “temperature of a wet thermometer” will change in the next 100 years in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and in neighboring countries.

As scientists explain, “the temperature of a wet thermometer” geologists and climatologists call a combination of two factors – the temperature of the environment and the accompanying humidity. It means a very simple thing – above this mark no object can cool itself, evaporating moisture from its surface.

This is a very important parameter for a person, as our body cools, evaporating sweat from the surface of the skin. Accordingly, if the “temperature of the wet thermometer” exceeds 35 degrees Celsius, the person is expected to overheat, sunstroke and even death in a few hours in the absence of external sources of cooling.

Two years ago, Eltahir and his colleagues had already found out that the countries of the Persian Gulf would pass through this mark very quickly, in the 70s of the current century, if the Paris climate agreements were not fulfilled.

The situation in South Asia, as the calculations of scientists, will be even more dramatic – “wet bulb temperature” will be above the level of 31-32 degrees Celsius for about 75% of residents of India and other countries in the region, if all nations abandon the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions . Approximately 4% of them will live in regions where the rate step over the mark of 35 degrees Celsius and will officially become uninhabitable.

In the event that humanity will fight the consequences of global warming, the situation will change, but not much. In this case, incompatible with life conditions are typical of the region, which is now home to about half the population of South Asia, and the maximum temperature will come close, but will not exceed 35 degrees.

The reasons for such large-scale and serious changes in the climate of South Asia, as scientists explain, are several things – the low-lying territory of the region, the large amount of precipitation in the summer season and the constantly high humidity level, as well as many large rivers and the high prevalence of irrigation systems.

In general, as Eltahir emphasizes, the fight against such consequences of global warming should be, first of all, the business of the inhabitants of India. India, along with China, is one of the main “suppliers” of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, whose share is constantly growing, not falling, as in the developed countries of the West.

Accordingly, the lack of desire to fight climate change due to the fact that such measures will slow the growth of India’s economy today, can lead to the most serious consequences for its residents in the near future, scientists conclude.