AUSTIN (KXAN) — Have you noticed this year’s World Cup is taking place at a different time of year than normal? This is the first time in the tournament’s history that it is taking place in November and December.

It normally takes place during the summer months but because of Qatar’s extreme heat FIFA had to plan to schedule it for a cooler season. A smart decision as Qatar faces some of the most intense heat and humidity on the globe.

Extreme heat and temperatures continue to play a major role in decision-making from football tournament organizers.

With increasing temperatures, FIFA took proactive measures back in 2014 to protect their players by implementing water, and cooling breaks multiple times in a given match. These become mandatory when a certain temperature threshold is met.

Annual temperature anomalies warming rapidly in the past few decades

Present-day temperatures, not just in Qatar, but across the globe look vastly different from when the first World Cup took place over 90 years ago. Global temperatures are rising rapidly from climate change placing the health and performance of both the athletes and even the officials at risk.

It is not solely the heat, but the combination of increasing humidity becomes the primary risk to one’s health and safety. Higher humidity means less evaporation of the sweat on your skin which reduces the body’s ability to cool itself off. This further increases heat-induced illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Climate change also plays a role in impacting the spectators during a tournament. With more than a million fans expected for this year’s World Cup, the young, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible groups to heat-related illnesses. People who are visiting Qatar from a significantly cooler region will not be acclimated to Qatar’s heat, placing them as a susceptible group as well.

Organizers have taken proactive measures to provide all eight of Qatar’s stadiums with air conditioning; even using solar panels as its energy source.

FILE – Branding is displayed near the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, March 31, 2022. Qatar’s ruling emir has lashed out at criticism of the country over its hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, complaining of an “unprecedented campaign” targeting the first Arab nation to hold the tournament. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic, File)

Transportation, materials, construction and energy consumption to name a few, that are required to organize and run the World Cup contribute a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

According to our partners over at Climate Central, the largest share of these heat-trapping emissions from this year’s World Cup are expected to come from air travel.

This is mainly from visitors arriving internationally. This equates to 52% of the emissions while infrastructure construction and operation takes second place landing at 24%.

But organizers continue to enact plans in order to reduce the tournament’s carbon footprint. In 2018, FIFA signed on to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework to reduce FIFA’s emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2040. You can find their outlined plan to reach these goals here: FIFA Climate Strategy.

You can read more about FIFA’s carbon footprint, and their plans to offset it here. You can learn more about the independent analysis done by Carbon Market Watch that may otherwise suggest a misleading underestimate of FIFA’s carbon footprint here.