Temperature tolerance threshold is likely to be lower for humans
Climate Change Extreme heat Wet-bulb temperature

Temperature tolerance threshold is likely to be lower for humans

Dr. Lindy Whitehouse
Dr. Lindy Whitehouse

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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