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Climate Change

Climate Crisis: May Heatwaves 1.5 Degrees Celsius Hotter In India, Says Study

India recorded nearly 25,000 suspected heat stroke cases and 56 deaths due to heat-related illnesses from March to May, as per data from the health ministry

Climate Crisis: May Heatwaves 1.5 Degrees Celsius Hotter In India, Says Study
ClimaMeter's findings underscore that heatwaves in India are reaching unbearable temperature thresholds because of fossil fuels burning

New Delhi: Heatwaves similar to those experienced in May in India are almost 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the warmest heat waves previously observed in the country, according to a new rapid attribution study by an independent group of climate scientists and researchers. The analysts at ClimaMeter said the intense and prolonged heat wave India endured in May was a result of the naturally occurring El Nino phenomenon — unusual warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean — and the rapidly increasing concentration of greenhouse gases — primarily carbon dioxide and methane — in the atmosphere. The researchers analyzed how events similar to the high temperature in India’s May heatwave changed in the present (2001–2023) compared to what they would have looked like if they had occurred in the past (1979–2001). The analysis read,

The temperature changes show that similar events produce temperatures in the present climate at least 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than what they would have been in the past over a large area of the region analyzed. The precipitation changes do not show any significant variations.

Also Read: How Is Climate Change Impacting Our Health?

Davide Faranda of French National Centre for Scientific Research said,

ClimaMeter’s findings underscore that heatwaves in India are reaching unbearable temperature thresholds because of fossil fuels burning.

He said,

There are no technological solutions for adapting Indian metropoles for temperatures approaching 50 degrees Celsius. We should all act now to reduce CO2 emissions and avoid exceeding vital temperature thresholds in large areas of the subtropics.

Gianmarco Mengaldo of National University of Singapore said the findings show the complex interplay between natural variability and climate change, with the latter playing an important role in critical synoptic-weather-pattern changes in tropical and subtropical regions that may significantly aggravate heatwaves in the near future.

The world is witnessing weather extremes under a combined effect of the 2023-24 El Nino and human-caused climate change.

May 2024 was the warmest May ever and the last 12 consecutive months — June 2023 to May 2024 — have broken temperature records for each corresponding month, according to the European climate agency Copernicus.

Northwest India and parts of the central region reeled under a punishing heatwave in May which tested India’s disaster preparedness, with several states reporting heat-related deaths.

There are concerns that heat waves in April and May have played a role in the lower-than-usual voter turnout during the seven-phase general elections in India that began on April 19 and ended on June 1, the second longest after the 1951-52 parliamentary elections.

Also Read: World Sees Hottest May, 12th Month On Trot With Record-High Temperature

According to the Central Water Commission, water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India dropped to just 22 per cent of their live storage this week, exacerbating water shortages in many states and significantly affecting hydropower generation.

The intense heat has already driven India’s power demand to a record 246 gigawatts, with air conditioners and coolers in homes and offices running at full capacity.

India recorded nearly 25,000 suspected heat stroke cases and 56 deaths due to heat-related illnesses from March to May, PTI reported earlier, citing data from the health ministry.

According to data compiled by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 46 of these deaths were recorded in May alone (till May 30). Between May 1 and 30, 19,189 suspected heat stroke cases were reported in the country, it said.

The data does not include deaths from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Delhi, and the final numbers are expected to be higher, a source said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.


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