In Texas, apparent temperature approaches oven temperature

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Do you think temperatures are rising rapidly? That’s nothing compared to the apparent temperature, or heat index, which is rising three times faster than the measured temperature, according to a study that offers a new way to look at the heat index, focusing on Texas last summer. The heat index takes into account relative humidity to show what the temperature really feels like. When relative humidity is low, sweat evaporates quickly, cooling the body. But when relative humidity is high, perspiration takes time to evaporate, making the body feel warmer. It is important for people to understand heat index values ​​to know the risk of overheating. But according to study author David Romps of UC Berkeley, NOAA heat index values are inaccurate and convey only “a conservative estimate of heat stress,” according to a release.

Basically, the heat index model breaks down “into humidities and temperatures that the author of the index thought would rarely be achieved,” according to the release. Previously, relative humidity typically fell as temperature rose, according to news week. But with climate change “relative humidity remains constant as temperature increases, reducing the effectiveness of sweating to cool the body,” the statement said. Romps and his colleague Yi-Chuan Lu came up with a revised heat index based on calculations of all combinations of temperature and humidity. According to the revised index, the apparent temperature at Houston’s Ellington Airport on July 23 of last year was 167 degrees Fahrenheit, with climate change accounting for 12 degrees.

“It sounds completely crazy… approaching something like an in-oven setup,” Romps says, according to the statement. “Maintaining a standard core temperature is beyond the physiological capacity of a young, healthy person.” But “we believe that if you kept your skin moist… you would still be alive. Definitely not happy. But alive.” In extreme heat, shade and water are “your friends,” Romps says. Park yourself in front of a fan, wet your skin, drink fluids and you’ll be fine. But we’re approaching a point where the heat index in Texas could rise enough to make conditions hyperthermic for everyone, warns Romps, whose study is published in Environmental research letters. He adds that “the obvious thing is to stop further warming, because this will not get better unless we stop burning fossil fuels.” (Further heat stories.)

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