Population dealing with extreme heat has tripled since 1983, analysis says

Population dealing with extreme heat has tripled since 1983, analysis says
© FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Exposure to extreme heat has tripled from 1983 to 2016 and now impacts roughly a quarter of the world’s population, according to new data from Columbia University’s Climate School.

Researchers averaged temperatures in more than 13,000 urban centers, per a database from the European Union, to compare heat measures with population estimates. Almost half of those locations saw an increase in heat exposure trends, according to an analysis by the The Associated Press.

Places with significant population growth saw particularly intense jumps in the number of extreme heat days experienced. 

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Dhaka, Bangladesh, had the largest heat exposure increase in the world. The city's population grew from roughly 7.7 million in 1983 to 24 million in 2016. At the same time, the city saw an increase of 1.5 days of extreme heat for each year, accounting for roughly 50 additional hot days since 1983, the AP reported. 

Southern Asia was also particularly affected by the trend. India accounted for almost 40 percent of the population that resides in areas affected by extreme upward heat trends, the wire service added.

The uptick in exposure to heat and subsequently increased heat stress can create health problems ranging from rashes to heat stroke for people enduring the extreme temperatures, the AP reported. 

The AP’s report comes as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference wraps up in Glasgow, Scotland. 

At the conference, world leaders gathered to make new climate-related commitments and negotiate implementation of the goals set forth in the Paris climate agreement, including limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century and eventually limiting warming to 1.5 degrees when compared to pre-industrial levels.