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  Opinion   Edit  23 Apr 2023  AA Edit | Summer may see extreme heat

AA Edit | Summer may see extreme heat

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 24, 2023, 12:43 am IST
Updated : Apr 24, 2023, 12:43 am IST

India’s climate vulnerability is very high in summers and people must be made aware of the heat index.

Studies are also supporting findings that India is particularly vulnerable to heatwaves as they become more common and more severe thanks to climate change. (AFP Photo)
 Studies are also supporting findings that India is particularly vulnerable to heatwaves as they become more common and more severe thanks to climate change. (AFP Photo)

It’s summer and along with the season heatwaves are inevitable, particularly in El Nino years. And it is not only India but the whole of Asia that sweated through the first half of April with experts saying that it was the continent’s worst ever recorded heatwave in April. Studies are also supporting findings that India is particularly vulnerable to heatwaves as they become more common and more severe thanks to climate change.

At least 13 people died from heatstroke at an award function in Mumbai on April 16 where lakhs of people had gathered. It is also a freakish timing of the poll cycles that sees most general elections being held in the peak of summer, as they would probably be in 2024 as well, thus increasing the risk of exposure of people to the hazards of increasing wet bulb temperatures that tend to place real feel temperatures far above the mercury readings. In short, the world is getting warmer as the years go by and India even more so and earlier in the year.

The weather may have eased in terms of temperature highs just a bit now in India, but the pattern of the last few years suggests there is just no room for complacency. India’s climate vulnerability is very high in summers and people must be made aware of the heat index, a more precise measure of discomfort to the human body in terms of temperature and humidity. Due consideration must be given by employers to how much outdoor work employees can bear in summer and they must bring in smarter methods of managing people while helping them take on the climate crisis.

India cannot afford to be complacent about extreme weather-related mortality, which takes its toll of lives every year, besides denting social development goals and affecting the GDP too, as about 380 million people are said to experience heat-related stress even as 90 per cent of India is said to be in the “extremely cautious” or “danger” range of heatwave impacts through the heat index. While governments can help educate people about the dangers, the people would have to learn to take far more precautions than they seem to nowadays.

 

Tags: climate change, heat wave in india, extreme heat