We could fill this blog with hourly examples of media stupidity on climate change, (and maybe we will). From the Conversation, an everyday blog for university folks financed by Australian and UK taxpayers, under the heading of climate change there is this:
Electric fans may not help the elderly in a heatwave
An electric fan cools you down in extreme heat, but not if you’re old.
Researchers have found that when elderly people use an electric fan in extreme heat, instead of cooling them down, it actually raises their core body temperature and increases their heart rate […] Given the impact expected from climate change, and the need to reduce the energy cost of cooling solutions, this topic will undoubtedly get more attention in the future.
The “science” on which this “finding” is based is described in the PhD’s Own Paper thus:
If a fan causes a higher critical humidity, it would imply that it helps to reduce the heat load. But while Ravanelli found that this was the case in young people, in the present study with the older group the responses were mixed. For the older group (looking at the average values for the group), the critical humidity stayed the same, so no benefit or worsening was observed. But, worryingly, in at least two people a substantially worse outcome was observed with the fan on.
At least two, eh? There is a link to the abstract and a first page which gives the methodology:
“Wearing shorts (men) or shorts and a sports bra (women) participants sat in a chamber maintained at 42°C [for] 100 minutes total. No fluid intake was allowed during the protocol. Study participants included 3 men and 6 women…”
So it’s two out of nine? That’s quite percentage. As fully 15% of the abstract was devoted to informing us that “heat-related morbidity and mortality are important health challenges posed by global climate change” we should no doubt sit up and take notice.
Or not. As an elderly person myself, currently suffering temperatures of up to 39°C in the living hell of a cottage on the Mediterranean, and just back from a meal on the beach of squid and frites (but with fluid intake permitted, even encouraged, during the two hour protocol) I can assure the researchers that: if you put nine elderly people in a room, with or without a fan, shorts and sports bra, for a hundred minutes, at any temperature or humidity you like to mention, at least two of them will be feeling poorly by the end of the experiment. And they’ll happily spend another 100 minutes telling you about it. That’s the way we are. And that’s why we’re not too concerned about the temperatures our grandchildren will be suffering in 2050.