Document Type

Article - On Campus Only

Publication Date



A human body may be able to adapt to extremes of dry-bulb temperature (commonly referred to as simply temperature) through perspiration and associated evaporative cooling provided that the wet-bulb temperature (a combined measure of temperature and humidity or degree of ‘mugginess’) remains below a threshold of 35 °C. (ref. ). This threshold defines a limit of survivability for a fit human under well-ventilated outdoor conditions and is lower for most people. We project using an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model simulations that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in the region around the Arabian Gulf are likely to approach and exceed this critical threshold under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas concentrations. Our results expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.

Recommended Citation

Pal, Jeremy S., and Elfatih A. B. Eltahir. “Future Temperature in Southwest Asia Projected to Exceed a Threshold for Human Adaptability.” Nature Climate Change, vol. 6, no. 2, Feb. 2016, pp. 197–200.