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Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A pair of scientific studies published this week tracked the dangerous increase in heat and humidity from climate change so far — and projected a future that could be too hot for billions of people.

Why it matters: Don't forget the warming in global warming. A more populous humanity will be hard-pressed to adapt to a world where large stretches of land are simply too hot to live in easily.

A study published in Science Advances on May 8 identified thousands of unprecedented periods of extreme heat and humidity in areas around the world, including in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

  • The study analyzed weather data and found extreme heat and humidity combinations doubled between 1979 and 2017.
  • Along the already brutally hot Persian Gulf, there were more than a dozen times when the mix of high temperatures and humidity temporarily exceeded the theoretical human survivability level.

Of note: Scientists assess the heat and humidity combination using what is known as wet-bulb temperature, which is literally measured by wrapping a thermometer in a wet cloth.

  • A wet-bulb temperature of 95 F is lethal after about six hours.

Another study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on May 4 looked at the next half-century and found one-third of the world's population could end up living in areas considered unsuitably hot for human beings.

  • While today only about 25 million people live in the world's hottest areas, with mean annual temperatures above 84 F, by 2070 extreme heat could have spread to multiple regions, including parts of India, the Middle East and Australia.
  • Coupled with expected population growth, that could mean as many as 3.5 billion people living under extreme heat stress.

Yes, but: The study is based on what the authors called a worst-case scenario, where little is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions. And as the global population gets richer — assuming that trend continues — more people will be able to afford air conditioning, though such adaptation would add to carbon emissions.

The bottom line: The studies show that the livable climate we've taken for granted for thousands of years is not the one we'll be enduring in the future.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

4 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.