Models of human heat strain don’t account for complexities

To better prepare for an ever-warming world in which heat waves are increasingly common, a group of international researchers is calling attention to the physiological variables and complexities of how humans react to the heat, or their “thermoregulation.” It turns out that these variables characteristically are often oversimplified and that oversimplification can result in a faulty understanding of how heat will affect humans as the climate changes. The researchers’ commentary, Simplicity lacks robustness when projecting heat-health outcomes in a changing climate, was published online in the journal Nature Communications. Sustainability scientist Jennifer Vanos is the lead author. “We’re hoping that this paper will lead people to think more about the intricacies of the human body and how it deals with heat in the same way that we think about the intricacies of climate models,” said Vanos. “We often see news reports of study results suggesting that a place in the future will not be survivable,” said Vanos. “That’s important, but we want a place to be livable, not just survivable. Livable means the climate can safely sustain work, play and well-being for an extended period of time.” Read more in ASU News.