Heat remains unaccounted for in thermal physiology and climate change research

F1000Res. 2017 Mar 6:6:221. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.10554.2. eCollection 2017.


In the aftermath of the Paris Agreement, there is a crucial need for scientists in both thermal physiology and climate change research to develop the integrated approaches necessary to evaluate the health, economic, technological, social, and cultural impacts of 1.5°C warming. Our aim was to explore the fidelity of remote temperature measurements for quantitatively identifying the continuous redistribution of heat within both the Earth and the human body. Not accounting for the regional distribution of warming and heat storage patterns can undermine the results of thermal physiology and climate change research. These concepts are discussed herein using two parallel examples: the so-called slowdown of the Earth's surface temperature warming in the period 1998-2013; and the controversial results in thermal physiology, arising from relying heavily on core temperature measurements. In total, the concept of heat is of major importance for the integrity of systems, such as the Earth and human body. At present, our understanding about the interplay of key factors modulating the heat distribution on the surface of the Earth and in the human body remains incomplete. Identifying and accounting for the interconnections among these factors will be instrumental in improving the accuracy of both climate models and health guidelines.

Keywords: global warming; hiatus; hyperthermia; ocean heat uptake; temperature.

Grants and funding

This work has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant no., 668786).