Extreme global temperatures are pushing the human body “close to thermal limits”, according to a climate scientist.

Record-breaking heat has swept through Europe this week with temperatures topping 40C in a number of countries.

However, in places such as South Asia and the Persian Gulf, people are already enduring temperatures reaching up to 54C.

Despite all the body’s thermal efficiencies, these areas could soon be uninhabitable, according to Loughborough University climate scientist Dr Tom Matthews in The Conversation.

When air temperature exceeds 35C, the body relies on sweating to keep core temperatures at a safe level. However, when the “wet bulb” temperature – which reflects the ability of moisture to evaporate – reaches 35C, this system no longer works.