Heat Wave Fallout In India,Pak

Past Eight years, the Eight Warmest; WMO

Climate change made heat waves in India and Pakistan 30 times more likely, according to a report by climate experts.
“While heat waves are not uncommon in the season preceding the monsoon, the very high temperatures so early in the year coupled with much less than average rain have led to extreme heat conditions with devastating consequences for public health and agriculture,” said the report by World Weather Attribution.


HEATWAVE FALLOUT


The report mentioned that full health and economic fallout, and cascading effects from the current heat wave will take months to determine including the number of excess deaths, hospitalisations, lost wages, missed school days, and diminished working hours. “Early reports indicate 90 deaths in India and Pakistan, and an estimated 10-35 percent reduction in crop yields in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Pune due to the heat wave,” the report said.
The early and prolonged heat particularly affected the North West of India and Southern parts of Pakistan, the so-called bread basket of the subcontinent. Towards the end of April and in May the heat wave also reached more coastal areas and the Eastern parts of India.


MAIN FINDINGS


• The 2022 heat wave is estimated to have led to at least 90 deaths across India and Pakistan, and to have triggered an extreme Glacial Lake Outburst Flood in northern Pakistan and forest fires in India.
• The heat wave reduced India’s wheat crop yields, causing the government to reverse an earlier plan to supplement the global wheat supply that has been impacted by the war in Ukraine.
• In India, a shortage of coal led to power outages that limited access to cooling, compounding health impacts and forcing millions of people to use coping mechanisms such as limiting activity to the early morning and evening.
• Because of climate change, the probability of an event such as that in 2022 has increased by a factor of about 30. The same event would have been about 1C cooler in a preindustrial climate.
• With future global warming, heat waves like this will become even more common and hotter. At the global mean temperature scenario of +2C such a heatwave would become an additional factor of 2-20 more likely and 0.5-1.5C hotter compared to 2022.
• Rising temperatures from more intense and frequent heat waves will render coping mechanisms inadequate as conditions in some regions meet and exceed limits to human survivability. Mitigating further warming is essential to avoid loss of life and livelihood.
• While some losses will inevitably occur due to the extreme heat, it is misleading to assume that the impacts are inevitable. Adaptation to extreme heat can be effective at reducing mortality. Heat Action Plans that include early warning and early action, awareness raising and behaviour changing messaging, and supportive public services can reduce mortality, and India’s rollout of these has been remarkable, now covering 130 cities and towns.

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