Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Researcher maps places and populations who face extreme heat risk » Yale Climate Connections

To prepare for last year’s World Cup in Qatar, the city of Doha built massive stadiums. Many migrant workers went there to find jobs in construction.

But working outside in scorching temperatures put many in danger. Thousands died or became ill during the decadelong construction process.

“If they’re working outside, they’re exposed to whatever the climate conditions might be like,” says Andrew Zimmer of Montana State University. “And that can be really hazardous for human health.”

Zimmer is using climate and demographic data to identify groups of people who are vulnerable to extreme heat in thousands of cities around the world.

For example, the data reveals that Doha’s population of working-aged men has been rapidly expanding, which reflects a large population of migrant workers.

In contrast, some Japanese cities are notable for their aging populations.

“As you get older, you’re more vulnerable to extreme heat,” Zimmer says. “Your body is less able to cool you down, and there can be a risk of mortality if you’re exposed to really high temperatures.”

So it’s urgent that these residents stay cool during heat waves.

Zimmer is making his data available in an interactive map so local planners and decision-makers around the world can identify their most vulnerable residents and take steps to protect them.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media

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