Doesn't let you live in peace. Scientists have studied how people adapt to extreme heat

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Doesn't let us live in peace. Scientists study how people adapt to extreme heat

A new study by scientists in China quantifies the degree to which outdoor activity is reduced on days with high temperatures .

Extreme temperatures make people less likely to engage in outdoor activities, a new study from scientists has confirmed. A data-rich study from China shows that when temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius, people are 5 percent less likely to visit public parks, and when temperatures reach 35 degrees Celsius, they are 13 percent less likely to visit, writes MIT News.< /p>

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“We observed adaptation,” says Xiqi Zheng, an MIT professor and co-author of a new paper detailing the study's results. She adds: “Environmental hazards harm the quality of everyday life. Yes, people protect themselves by limiting activity, but they lose the benefit of going out into nature or meeting friends in the parks.”

The study adds to our knowledge of the impact of climate change by quantifying the impact of high temperatures on people's day-to-day activities – how they switch activities from hotter to cooler periods of time – and not just over longer periods.

< p>“We found that, given this adaptation during the day, extreme temperatures actually have a much larger impact on human activity than previous daily or monthly estimates suggest,” says Yichun Fan, an MIT doctoral student and another co-authors.

To conduct the study, scientists used anonymized data on 900 million mobile phone users in China in 2017, studying a total of 60 billion separate requests for the location of mobile phones per day. Using this data, the scientists also studied activity in 10,499 parks across the country, comparing overall usage rates under different conditions. And they got temperature data from about 2,000 weather stations in China.

Ultimately, as the scientists write in the paper, they were able to “document large and significant depressive and activity-delaying effects” when visiting the park as a result of ultra-hot temperatures.

“People have intraday adaptation patterns that do not have been documented in previous literature,” Fan says. “This has important implications for the effects of heat on people, and how future climate change will affect people's activity and health.”

As Zheng points out, the changed use of public spaces affects daily life not only in terms of individual activities and exercise, but also in terms of social and community life.

“Extreme climate reduces the ability of people to socialize in cities or just watching kids play basketball or football, which is not good,” she says. “We want people to have a diverse urban life. This adaptation has a social cost.”

Studies show that people clearly adapt to temperature fluctuations. The data also shows that evening use of parks increases on extremely hot days, but only after temperatures drop. While this seems like a useful adaptation to very hot weather, scientists citing existing research suggest that people may sleep less as a result of making this kind of change in their daily routine.

“Adaptation also has its own cost,” Phan says. “People have significantly increased their nighttime outdoor activity, which means they've sacrificed sleep time, which will have significant health implications.”

Overall , the study provides data and a method to better characterize the impact of climate change on human activity in detail.

“If we have more and more detailed data on future climate scenarios, it supports better predictions that reflect the dynamic behavior of people and health implications,” says Fan, whose doctoral research includes this work and other related research on climate and urban activity.

The researchers also note that the methods used in studying this issue could be applied to additional future analyzes of many other aspects of urban life, including street-level retailing and similar things with economic implications. activities, real estate and urban planning.