Heatwaves in South Asia are ’30 times more likely’ due to the climate problem.
Kathmandu: Heatwaves in India and Pakistan ought to be “extraordinarily rare,” according to a study, but with the current rate of global warming, they are 30 times more likely.
According to a research by international scientists, the disastrous heatwave that has engulfed India and Pakistan in recent months was made more likely by climate change and offers a preview of the region’s future.
Earlier, prolonged heatwaves that affect a large geographic area are unusual, once-in-a-century phenomena, according to the World Weather Attribution project, which analyzed historical weather data.
Heatwaves like this could occur twice in a century and up to once every five years if global warming rises to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, according to Arpita Mondal, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai who was part of the study.
In fact, the World Weather Attribution group’s findings are cautious. According to a report released last week by the United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office, climate change rendered the heatwave 100 times more likely, with such blazing temperatures expected to recur every three years.
The consequences have been widespread and cascading: a glacier burst in Pakistan, causing floods downstream; early heat scorched wheat crops in India, forcing it to ban exports to countries suffering from food shortages as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine; and it resulted in an early spike in electricity demand in India, depleting coal reserves and causing severe power shortages affecting millions.
The majority of Indian regions are unprepared, and the Indian government is currently working with 130 cities in 23 heat-prone states to establish similar strategies.
The federal government also asked states earlier this month to train health personnel on how to deal with heat-related diseases and make sure that ice packs, oral rehydration salts, and cooling devices were available in hospitals.