Deadly heatwave made 30 times worse by global warming
Suffering and losses exacerbate as heatwave blazes through the subcontinent.
Scientists said the heatwave blazing through India and Pakistan has been made 30 times more likely by the climate crisis. The extremely high temperatures and the low rainfall rate since mid-March resulted in widespread suffering. It has also caused deaths, crop losses, forest fires, and cuts to power and water supplies.
The study they conducted showed that despite temperatures having increased only 1.2 °C above pre-industrial levels to date, the world has already witnessed severe impacts of global heating on millions of people. If temperatures rise to reach 2 °C, then every five years, India and Pakistan are expected to witness such severe heatwaves, if not more than that.
In India and Pakistan, March was found to be the hottest and the driest in 122 years. The drought was so extreme that India had 71% and Pakistan had 63% less rain than normal. The heatwave intensified in earlier April reaching its peak at 50 °C later in May.
Various researches have shown, in recent years, that devastating floods across Africa and Europe, heatwaves throughout North America and storms across the world have all been supercharged by global warming. A particular study conducted in 2010 mentioned that global warming made heatwaves across India and Pakistan 100 more probable.
“High temperatures are common in India and Pakistan, but what made this unusual was that it started so early and lasted so long,” said Prof Krishna AchutaRao at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at IIT Delhi.
Scientists used data on daily temperatures to project possible temperatures in the future and compare the frequency of such severe occurrences in highly affected regions. Through these studies, scientists reveal that despite global warming, the current long-running heatwave is still considered a rare occurrence. Scientists have found that there was a heatwave like this one with a 1% chance of happening per year proving that without climate change, any such occurrences would be highly unlikely to ever occur.