Earth's increasingly hot, wet climate has cut the amount of work people can do in the worst heat by about 10 percent in the past six decades, and that loss in labor capacity could double by mid-century, U.S. government scientists reported on Sunday.
Because warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air, there's more absolute humidity in the atmosphere now than there used to be. And as anyone who has sweltered through a hot, muggy summer knows, it's more stressful to work through hot months when the humidity is high.
A more extreme scenario of future global warming, which estimated a temperature rise of 10.8 degrees F (6 degrees C), would make it difficult to work in the hottest months in many parts of the world, Dunne said at a telephone briefing.
Labor capacity would be all but eliminated in the lower Mississippi Valley and most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains would be exposed to heat stress "beyond anything experienced in the world today," he said.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/24/us-...