Climate change has made India 100 times more prone to heat waves

A farmer pours water on himself while working on a wheat farm in Ludhiana district of Punjab, India, on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

T. Narayan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

According to a new study released by the UK’s National Weather Service on Wednesday, northwestern India and Pakistan were 100 times more likely to experience heat waves due to man-made climate change.

Extreme temperatures that began in March have already set records in the region, forcing millions of people to change their jobs and livelihoods. India experienced its highest March temperature and third highest April temperature in a 122-year record, and Pakistan experienced its warmest April on record.

A study by the UK Met Office estimates how climate change is increasing the likelihood of such heatwaves, using the region’s record-breaking heatwaves in April and May 2010 as a benchmark.

Without calculating climate change, the probability of surpassing a thermal event that occurred in 2010 would be expected only once every 312 years, according to the study. But accounting for the current effects of climate change, such record-breaking temperatures are now expected every 3.1 years. Towards the end of this century, the probability could increase every 1.15 years, the study warned.

“The heat spell was a feature of the region’s pre-seasonal climate in April and May,” said lead researcher Nikos Christidis. “However, our research shows that climate change is driving the heat intensity of these mantras.”

Air-cooler for sale in New Delhi, India on Saturday, April 30, 2022. India is facing a heat wave, with the country’s average temperature reaching about 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius) in March, the highest on record. From the month the authorities started collecting information in 1901.

Anindita Mukherjee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In India, the average maximum temperature in April was 35.30 degrees Celsius (95.5 degrees Fahrenheit), or in 2010 it was 35.42 degrees Celsius (95.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and 35.32 degrees Celsius (95.6 degrees Fahrenheit according to the Indian government). ), In 2016. .

March average temperature was 33.10 degrees Celsius (91.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest average in 122 years and slightly higher than the previous record in March 2010.

The temperature is also reaching above average this month. In recent days, the temperature in some parts of India has reached 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), while in some parts of Pakistan it reached 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees Fahrenheit) last Sunday.

Paul Hachion, of the meteorological office’s Global Guidance Unit, said heatwaves have been declining since then, but in some areas the maximum temperature is likely to reach 50 degrees Celsius again.

Scientists will have to wait until the end of the month to see if this year’s heatwave will exceed the 2010 level of experience, when all temperature records for April and May have been compiled.

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