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Regional Focus

  • Global

Dangerous Humid Heat Extremes Occurring Decades Before Expected

Author: NOAA
Grades: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth Sciences, Geography
Format: YouTube Video
Resource Type:
  • Article
Synopsis
  • This brief article describes the dangerous increase in hot and humid weather occurring at many locations around the world. Students will: 
    • Read about the health effects of heat and humidity and the increase in those "wet bulb" temperatures that are exceeding the threshold of human survivability.
    • Observe a global map of locations experiencing the most extreme heat and humidity from 1979-2017.
    • Follow the link in additional resources to use the mapping tool for wet bulb temperatures in the southeastern United States.
    • Follow the link in additional resources to watch a 5 minute video about neighborhoods in NYC most at risk from extreme heat and humidity.
Teaching Tips

Positives 

  • This is a quick read and provides important information about a serious and somewhat underappreciated health risk associated with global warming.
  • The links to the additional resources provide students an opportunity to see how wet bulb temperatures in some areas of the U.S. can get dangerous during some times of the day and learn about the unequal distribution of extreme heat in NYC.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a map, and if they use the charting tool, they should know how to read a line graph.

Differentiation

  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with social studies and geography classes when discussing the unequal distribution of extreme heat and humidity and the unequal access to air conditioning or electricity in areas most at risk.
Scientist Notes
The resource critically evaluates the impact high humidity and increasing temperatures have on human thermal comfort. Exceeding this limit has caused several deaths and aggravated respiratory, cardiovascular, and renal diseases as recorded by the author. The map showed extreme heat and humidity levels. It is credible, although datasets need to be updated to present scenarios.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.10.3-5 Explain why environmental characteristics vary among different world regions.

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