Indian Heat Building Again

May 9, 2022

People in India/Pakistan have fewer protections from extremes. Less Air conditioning, more people working outside, etc.

Above – PBS Report:

It is unbearably hot in India right now as a brutal heat wave scorches the region. While temperatures in some areas have surpassed 120 degrees Fahrenheit every year, the recent wave started early, leading to school closures, landfill fires and a crop crisis.

Bill Spindle in The Atlantic:

I was fortunate to have any air-conditioning at all. Most of India’s 1.4 billion people would consider themselves lucky to have a fan and the electricity to run one. A ride in a three-wheel tuk-tuk feels like having a blow-dryer directed straight at your face. The inside of a slum dweller’s windowless room, often housing an entire family, can become a lethal hotbox. Health authorities have reported hundreds of deaths across the country from heatstroke, but the actual number is likely to be far higher.

The only saving grace, as I write now from the northern state of Punjab, is that the unseasonable spring heat has come before the monsoon rains. Although that’s led to drought conditions in some places, it has also kept humidity levels low enough for India to largely avoid a national spike in deaths from heatstroke. For the country’s health and climate experts trying to plan for global warming, the “wet bulb” temperature is the danger they fear most. This deadly combination of heat and humidity, which prevents a human body from cooling itself by sweating, is a huge looming threat for South Asia’s wet season, experts say. Although climate scientists are still puzzling out the precise details of global warming’s role in India’s current heat wave, the correlation is clear enough: Spells of blistering heat such as this are becoming a regular feature of South Asia’s weather, rather than a once-in-a-decade-or-more crisis.

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