In 10 seconds? Summer is on in the Northern Hemisphere (at the time of writing), and a recent study has found that the “wet-bulb temperature” limit at which we can cope with heat stress is much lower than thought - even for younger, fit people.

Wet what temperature? Wet-bulb temperature! It is calculated by measuring the temperature using a standard thermometer with the bulb covered in a wet cloth. Simples, right? This gives a measure of both temperature and humidity and is a useful tool for measuring bodily heat stress. Previous research had suggested that humans would struggle to cope with a wet-bulb temperature above 35°C (95°F), but this had not been tested using empirical data. This study examined the wet-bulb temperature limit in young, healthy people and found that it is around 30 – 31°C (86-87.8°F), even for them, which is much lower than the previous threshold.

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