Tropical deforestation accelerates local warming and loss of safe outdoor working hours

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Climate change has increased heat exposure in many parts of the tropics, negatively impacting outdoor worker productivity and health. Although it is known that tropical deforestation is associated with local warming, the extent to which this additional heat exposure affects people across the tropics is unknown. In this modeling study, we combine worker health guidelines with satellite, reanalysis, and population data to investigate how warming associated with recent deforestation (2003–2018) affects outdoor working conditions across low-latitude countries, and how future global climate change will magnify heat exposure for people in deforested areas. We find that the local warming from 15 years of deforestation was associated with losses in safe thermal working conditions for 2.8 million outdoor workers. We also show recent large-scale forest loss was associated with particularly large impacts on populations in locations such as the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Pará. Future global warming and additional forest loss will magnify these impacts.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Parsons, LA; Jung, J; Masuda, YJ; Vargas Zeppetello, LR; Wolff, NH; Kroeger, T; Battisti, DS; Spector, JT

Published Date

  • December 17, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1730 - 1740

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2590-3322

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2590-3330

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.11.016

Citation Source

  • Scopus