Rapid climate change is causing global temperatures to rise, so extreme heat waves are becoming common in many parts of the Earth’s heat waves. Given this fact, scientists have decided to find out what the maximum temperature the human body can withstand. An article on the topic appeared in the journal Live Science.
What is the maximum temperature humans can endure? Employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA say that 35 degrees Celsius. It is important to note that we are talking about the temperature of a wet thermometer, which gives readings that do not coincide with the air temperature. The temperature of a wet thermometer is measured with a thermometer that is covered with a wet cloth, and therefore the reading depends on both heat and humidity. This is important because when humidity is high, sweat evaporates less from the body, leading to overheating of the body.
“When humidity and temperature readings are too high, the humid thermometer temperature can become critical – the human body cannot cool down, so regulation of internal temperature becomes impossible,” says Colin Raymond of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Note that if the temperature is 46 degrees and the relative humidity is kept around 30 percent, the wet bulb temperature will be 30.5 °C, which is acceptable. But if the humidity rises to 77 percent with a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius, the wet bulb temperature becomes critical. Once in such conditions, a person will be in a life-threatening hyperthermic state.