More heat waves in the offing: CSE

The intense heat wave sweeping across India could be another manifestation of an extreme weather event, a green body on Thursday said, warning that more heat waves were in the offing due to rise in global temperatures.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) also noted that about 2,000 people have been killed in India by this weather condition with the worst-affected states being Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where maximum temperatures have hovered around a searing 45 degrees Celsius.

It said climate records show that human-induced global warming had turned 2014 into the hottest year on record while eight out of the ten warmest years in India were during the recent past decade (2001-2010), making it the warmest decade on record with a decadal mean temperature anomaly of 0.49 degrees.

“More heat waves were expected as globally temperatures have risen by an average 0.8 degrees in the past 100 years.

Night-time temperatures are rising too, with Ahmedabad and Delhi recently reporting 39 and 36 degrees centigrade. The number of heat wave days may go up from about 5 to between 30 and 40 every year,” a CSE statement said.

The Delhi-based green advocacy and research body said there is also enough evidence of extreme weather events being on the “rise”. It noted that although compared to 2010, heat wave conditions in 2015 so far have been of a shorter duration, yet with a higher death toll.

“This could be due to the sudden change in temperatures after a prolonged wet February and March that had kept the temperatures cool,” said Arjuna Srinidhi, programme manager, climate change, CSE.

“The intense heat wave condition that is sweeping across India currently could be another manifestation of an extreme weather event,” it said.

Due to unprecedented heat wave conditions, the Health Ministry has also extended assistance and medical aid to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where it has claimed nearly 1,200 lives, and is likely to come out with an advisory for all states to deal with the situation.

A heat wave is declared when the temperature is five degrees or more than the average temperature recorded on that particular day over the last three decades.

Cities feel the brunt of the elevated temperatures, because of the magnified effect of paved surfaces and a lack of tree cover which is known as the “urban heat island effect.”

“Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are,” said Srinidhi.

CSE said that owing to the rising temperatures, ultra violet (UV) rays are emerging as a “serious menace” for people’s health.

A story by “Down To Earth” magazine also cited data from the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) to show that in several cities including Delhi, UV rays are above normal.

IITM set up a monitoring system in Delhi two weeks ago and has found that UV rays are ranging between 6 and 9 on the UV index — this carries medium to high health risk, CSE said.

“Building resilience through climate change adaptation becomes an imperative role of the state and national governments. This includes building awareness about heat waves and their effects, issuing proper warning systems and building capacity of health workers to deal with such events,” CSE researchers said.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 4:25:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/more-heat-waves-in-offing/article7255319.ece

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