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South Asian residents face increasing threat of extreme heat combined with extreme air pollution

New study highlights potential impacts to human health

Apr 21, 2020 - by Staff

Scientists know that both extreme heat and extreme levels of air pollution can have serious impacts on the human body. But as temperatures warm across much of the globe, how often will people be threatened by those extremes happening at the same time?

A new study, focusing on south Asia, shows that occurrences of extreme heat with extreme levels of particulate matter, a dangerous pollutant, can be expected to nearly triple by 2050 if emissions of greenhouse gas increase unabated. The study, led by a Texas A&M University professor with co-authors from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), also shows that the amount of land exposed to dual-extreme days may increase by more than tenfold in 2050.

The research team used simulations from a specialized climate-chemistry computer model based on the NCAR Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model.

"This research helps illustrate how projected increases in greenhouse gases as well as air pollution emissions by midcentury will exacerbate the joint exposure of the south Asian population to severe air pollution and extreme heat waves," said NCAR scientist Rajesh Kumar, a co-author of the study.

The study was published in the new journal, AGU Advances. For more, see the Texas A&M news release.


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