AGU 2017 Poster Presentation by Jonathan Buzan: Systematic losses of outdoor production from heat stress and climate change

Center for the Environment
December 11, 2017
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - Poster Hall D-F


Heat stress impacts humans today with heat waves, worker reductions, and health issues. Here we show novel results in labor productivity for outdoor work due to global warming. We use the HumanIndexMod to calculate 4x daily values of Simplified Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index (sWBGT) from the CMIP5 archive normalized by global mean surface temperature changes. Previous work shows that scaling of sWBGT is robust across the CMIP5 archive. We calculate total annual outdoor labor capacity from our scaled sWBGT results. Our results show modern day losses due to heat stress impacting outdoor work for low latitudes (and parts of Eastern China and the Southern United States). At 2°C of climate change, up to 20% losses to total capacity impact Midwestern United States, while the Southern United States suffers >20% losses. Western Coastal Africa suffers annual losses at >80%, along with the Amazon Basin and the greater South East Asia region. India suffers losses >50% annually. At +5°C, the estimated mean global change by 2100, the Equatorial region (Northern Australia and Northern Bolivia to Western Coastal Africa and Southern India) has complete cessation of annual outdoor work. The Midwest United States suffers losses up to 30%, and the Gulf of Mexico suffers losses >50%. Our results imply that small changes in global mean surface temperature (2°C) will lead to crippling losses to outdoor work annually, and ≥5°C losses will lead to cessation of labor for more than half the world’s population.

Contact Details

Add to calendar

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2018 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Discovery Park

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact Discovery Park at