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What the Pacific Northwest area of North America experienced just a few days ago raised quite a few concerns and ‘climate change’ might have echoed in quite a few people’s minds. Parts of the US and Canada were scorching in a heatwave that has topped all the records so far. Rob Carlmark, meteorologist in California for ABC 10, shared a concerning post on his Facebook page ‘More than Sunshine.’ And it is all about how horrifying and unusual the heatwave is. And he is raising awareness about this phenomenon that will probably re-occur again.

This frying heat has also prompted another climate expert, Matthew Lewis, to speak up on his Twitter account about ‘wet bulb’ temperatures and how dangerous they are. And some people online are admitting to being unaware of this term and how concerning and alarming it actually is.

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The latest heatwave in the Pacific Northwest of the US and Canada sparked a few climate experts to speak up about the concerning temperatures

Image credits: Rob Carlmark

In his post, Rob Carlmark stated that using the word ’horrifying’ is the most accurate when describing what has been happening in this time in history, which no one really wants to repeat itself. He starts by explaining how different regions have their respective climate that has been meticulously observed by humans over a period of time, including the vegetation, geology and other geographical matters.

Rob Carlmark, meteorologist in California, stated that this heatwave is nothing less than ‘horrifying’ and explained why

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Carl shared that such anomalies like temperatures reaching highs of 110 in Portland and Seattle shouldn’t really occur. He also highlighted how unbelievable it was for weather experts to see such numbers: ‘When the computer models spit these numbers out last week, a lot of meteorologists dismissed them right away as a computer model problem.’

The meteorologist points out that ‘millions of people are in the middle of a life-changing event’ which could happen again as, unfortunately, people are currently going through it. He shared that air conditioning, although it is a solution for keeping cool in such extreme heat, will not help to change the environment.

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Image credits: Rob Carlmark

Matthew Lewis, who is a clean energy and climate tech/policy veteran, following the recent heatwave, dropped another term to add to your vocabulary: ‘wet bulb’ temperature. In his initial post on Twitter with over 20k likes, he opened a discussion about human survivability and habitability. The thread that he shared is a basic one to understand what the ‘wet bulb’ effect is and what is so scary about it.

The unprecedented heatwave got another climate change professional to warn everyone about the ‘wet bulb’ temperature and what it does to humans

Image credits: mateosfo

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Image credits: mateosfo

He explained how the ‘wet bulb’ example is used to describe what happens to the human body as well

Image credits: mateosfo

Turns out that ‘wet bulb’ temperature is actually the temperature+relative humidity at which water does not evaporate off a ‘wet’ thermometer bulb. Matthew explains that the air has so much humidity that evaporation does not cool the bulb anymore, making it get even hotter. This explains why humans feel that humid heat feels worse and it is not as bearable as dry heat even though the latter would have a numerically higher temperature.

Image credits: mateosfo

Apparently, if the heat is dry, humans can survive quite high temperatures

Image credits: mateosfo

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Image credits: mateosfo

The climate expert stated that dry air has more capacity to absorb moisture, which in this case is sweat, which the human body uses to cool down when it’s too hot. Of course, 120 and up in a dry heat means potential death from hyperthermia for people in at-risk groups. What is more dangerous is humid air, where the body’s sweat can no longer evaporate, therefore causing the body to overheat, just like the ‘wet’ thermometer bulb. The ‘wet bulb’ condition can be fatal to humans in temperatures as low as the mid-80s.

Image credits: mateosfo

Matthew also explained that ‘wet bulb’ temperatures were extremely rare in the past and how important it is for the weather forecasters to start announcing the Human Heat Index

Image credits: mateosfo

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What Matthew called out is that it would be useful to be informed about the wet bulb temperature or Human Heat Index and make it public knowledge during weather forecasts as ‘wet bulb’ temperatures were quite rare in the last 40 years, but now they seem to be multiplying in different locations, making it more dangerous for people to live in such weather conditions.

Image credits: mateosfo

And the scariest thing is that there is a chance that some people will have to move from their current locations

Image credits: mateosfo

Image credits: mateosfo

His guess is that many people might have to move and try to adapt, but it might be hard. Matthew says that if we take action now, there is a chance to save these sorts of places for future generations. But are we really taking action?

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Image credits: mateosfo

And this is what Twitter users were commenting about the ‘wet bulb’ temperatures and the unbearable humidity

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