Climate Change

Heat wave another manifestation of climate change, says CSE

Around 2,000 people have died due to the present heat wave, with maximum deaths recorded in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

 
Last Updated: Thursday 29 March 2018 | 13:09:34 PM

image

The intense heat wave condition that is sweeping across India could be another manifestation of an extreme weather event, say researchers from the New Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). About 2,000 people have been killed in India by this weather condition. In the worst-affected states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, maximum temperatures have hovered around a searing 45 degrees Celsius.

According to CSE, 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 – this is known as the “urban heat island effect”.

Cities face ‘urban heat island effect’
“Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are,” says Arjuna Srinidhi, programme manager with climate change team at CSE, in a recent press release by the non profit. He further adds, “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.”

Heat waves likely to worsen in future
Climate records show that human-induced global warming had turned 2014 into the hottest year on record. “Eight out of the 10 warmest years in India were during the past decade (2001-2010), making it the warmest decade on record with a decadal mean temperature anomaly of 0.49 °C,” says the CSE press release.

CSE climate researchers say more heat waves were expected as globally temperatures had risen by an average .8 degrees in the past 100 years. Night-time temperatures are rising too, with Ahmedabad and Delhi recently reporting 39 and 36 degrees Celsius. “The number of heat-wave days may go up from about five to between 30 and 40 every year,” they add.

There is also enough evidence of extreme weather events being on the rise. “This year, we saw the wettest March in about 50 years, and we have already seen the second major flood in Kashmir in a period of six months. These are all extreme weather events,” says Srinidhi.

The UV effect
“Additionally, owing to the rising temperatures, ultra violet (UV) rays emerging as a serious menace for people’s health,” says CSE. A recent Down To Earth story had cited data from the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) showing 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 six and nine on the UV index – this carries medium to high health risk. 

Building resilience
According to CSE researchers, “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.”

 

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Related Blog:

How to fight heat wave, the Odisha way

How to cope with heat waves

Related Story:

Heat wave death toll nears 2,000 in Andhra, Telangana

UV rays can aggravate risks from heat wave

Heat wave another manifestation of climate change, says CSE

Did climate change trigger heat wave in India and other nations in 2014?

IEP Resources:

Extreme weather events

Explaining extreme events of 2014 from a climate perspective

State of the climate 2014

Studies say rising mercury levels could be connected to global warming

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

  • Heat wave is not a

    Heat wave is not a manifestation of climate change -- which you mean global warming.

    The temperatures recorded in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana are not new. See for example 1931-60 normal data of few stations [from IMD Red Book]:

    Hyderabad - 44.4 oC; Machilipatnam - 47.8 oC; Nizambad - 47.2 oC; Hanumakonda - 46.7 oC; Rentachintala - 47.2 oC; Kadapa - 46.1

    The heatwave condition/cold wave condition are are presented by me in a paper of 1974 -- A method of forecasting the weather associated with the Western disturbances. The Figure 7a of this paper created heat wave conditions in Telangana and then it moved to 7b condition and created heatwave condition in Coastal Andhra.

    Regarding UV, it is insignificant when compared to visible spectra radiation.

    Global warming since 1951 to date is 0.15 oC = 0.1 oC. The Indian and Chinese temperature shows an increase in night time temperature associated with urban-heat-island effect.

    The impact of the same temperature on human life associated with changes in environmental conditions and changes in our food type.

    Please do not use climate change as an adjective to attract media attention -- I saw this report in Deccan Chronicle.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply