Climate Change Impact: Why India’s Heatwaves Are on the Rise?

Climate Change Impact: Why India’s Heatwaves Are on the Rise?
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India has been experiencing some of the worst heatwaves in its history, with temperatures reaching up to 47°C in some places. Heatwaves are prolonged periods of excessively hot weather, typically with high humidity. They can be dangerous and even life-threatening, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Heatwave Intensity and Duration

The frequency and intensity of heatwaves in India have increased significantly over the past few decades. March and April have been recorded as the hottest months in 122 years from 1901-2022. The long persistence of heatwaves has highlighted the cascading effect of global warming on the temperature profile across the country.

Western Disturbances

Western Disturbances (WDs) are storms that originate in the Caspian or Mediterranean Sea and bring non-monsoonal rainfall to Northwest India and adjoining areas of Central India. WDs play a crucial role in suppressing heatwave conditions in the Indo-Gangetic plains. However, climate change has led to dynamic changes in the pattern of WDs, which can impact heatwave occurrences.

Impact on Different Sectors

India’s economic growth is at risk as heatwaves become more frequent and extreme. Climate change-induced weather patterns are already causing inflation and supply shortages in India’s agriculture industry, which makes up a small portion of its GDP but affects the purchasing power of the country’s rural population.

The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is contributing to India’s increased temperatures. Extreme heat disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized, who often have labor-intensive jobs that require long hours in the heat. Mitigation of high temperatures and heatwaves is vital to prevent deaths.

FAQs

1.What are heatwaves? 

Heatwaves are prolonged periods of excessively hot weather, typically with high humidity. They can be dangerous and even life-threatening, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions.

2: How have heatwaves in India changed over time? 

The frequency and intensity of heatwaves in India have increased significantly over the past few decades. March and April have been recorded as the hottest months in 122 years from 1901-2022. The long persistence of heatwaves has highlighted the cascading effect of global warming on the temperature profile across the country.

3: What are Western Disturbances (WDs) and how do they relate to heatwaves? 

Western Disturbances (WDs) are storms that originate in the Caspian or Mediterranean Sea and bring non-monsoonal rainfall to Northwest India and adjoining areas of Central India. WDs play a crucial role in suppressing heatwave conditions in the Indo-Gangetic plains. However, climate change has led to dynamic changes in the pattern of WDs, which can impact heatwave occurrences.

4: How do heatwaves affect different sectors in India? 

India’s economic growth is at risk as heatwaves become more frequent and extreme. Climate change-induced weather patterns are already causing inflation and supply shortages in India’s agriculture industry, which makes up a small portion of its GDP but affects the purchasing power of the country’s rural population.

5: What is the impact of extreme heat on vulnerable populations?

Extreme heat disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized, who often have labor-intensive jobs that require long hours in the heat. Mitigation of high temperatures and heatwaves is vital to prevent deaths.

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