The catastrophic heatwaves that hit Pakistan and India in the past two months is unheard of but something more — possibly even worse is in the near future as the rate of climate change increases top climate scientists said to AFP.
In spite of no further global warming, South Asia is, statistically in the sense of an “big one” similar to the as California is thought to be a long way from an earthquake of magnitude according to research that was published this week.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said on Friday, in its forecast for the weather, that the heat wave that has been affecting the country will continue for the next week, when the average temperature for a typical the day likely to rise by 6-8 degrees Celsius.
The department warned that daytime temperatures could increase sharply across the majority of the nation over the following week due to the high pressure. Because of the scorching hot and dry conditions the water reservoirs plants, crops, vegetable gardens and orchards are in danger of water shortages.
The forecast stated that temperatures during the daytime in the areas of upper Punjab, Islamabad, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir would be between 7-9 degrees Celsius above normal, and it will be between 6 and 8 degrees above normal in central and upper Sindh as well as central and southern Punjab as well as Balochistan.
Extreme heat across a large portion of Pakistan and neighboring India between the months of March and April exposed over 1 billion people to temperatures of more than forty Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). The hottest time in the entire year to be.
“This heatwave is expected to take the lives of thousands of people,” tweeted Robert Rohde who is the chief scientist at Berkeley Earth, a climate science research non-profit.
The sheer number of extra deaths in particular among the elderly or the poor will be obvious after a while.
The mortality from heatwaves in India has been increasing by more than 60 % since 1980 according to India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences.
However “cascading effects” on the output of agriculture and water supplies, energy sources and many other areas are evident, World Meteorological Organization chief Petteri Taalas stated this week.
Air quality has declined and vast swathes terrain are now at risk of being in danger of fire.
Blackouts of power last week after demand for electricity reached records served as an indication of what could occur if temperatures were to rise even more.
For climate scientists, none this came as a shock.
“What I find shocking is that the majority of people are shocked when they consider how long we’ve been warned about these disasters approaching,” Camilo Mora, an instructor in the University of Hawaii, told AFP.
“This part of the world as well as a lot of other tropical regions are among the areas most susceptible to heat waves.”
In a benchmark study from 2017, Mora calculated that nearly half of the world’s populace will have to endure “deadly temperatures” for 20 or more days each year in 2100 even if the global temperature rise is kept to less than two degrees Celsius which is the primary goal in the Paris Agreement.
In what way can climate change be blamed for the scorching Earth temperatures that are now cooling across Pakistan or India?
Scientists from Imperial College’s Grantham Institute led by Friederike Otto, who is a pioneer in the field of attribution science are analyzing the numbers.
“How many times more probable and how intense this particular heatwave is becoming is something we’re trying to figure out,” she told AFP.
“But it is clear that the climate crisis will be an important game changer in the face of high temperatures,” She added. “What we are experiencing currently will soon be normal, if not even cool in a 2C to 3C climate.”
The Earth’s surface, in average is 1.1C above the preindustrial level. National carbon reduction pledges made under the Paris Agreement, if fulfilled will see the globe warming 2.8 degrees.
The report states that in Pakistan as well as India, “more intense heat waves with longer durations and with a higher frequency are expected,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in a significant report.
“Before humans’ activities pushed up global temperatures, we’d have experienced the extreme heat that struck India about once every the past 50 years.” explained Marian Zachariah who is a research scientist in Imperial College London.
“But today, we can anticipate such temperatures around every 4 years.”
Global warming will continue to increase, which also known as global warming, will result in higher temperatures in the coming decades.
However, things could be worsening even more quickly as per a new study published in Science Advances.
A group led by Vikki Thompson from Bristol University ranked the world’s most intense heatwaves from 1960. The benchmark they chose was not the maximum temperature however, it was the degree of heat it experienced when compared to the temperatures expected in the region.
It was surprising to find that South Asia was nowhere near the top of the list.
“When measured in terms of deviation from the norm local to the heatwaves that have occurred are not unusual in Pakistan and India up to now haven’t been that excessive,” Thompson explained in an article.
In that sense the most scorcher in the last 60 years was recorded in Southeast Asia in 1998.
“An comparable extreme heatwaves that is occurring in India today would result in temperatures of 50C or more across vast areas of the country,” Thompson said.
“Statistically an unprecedented heatwave is probably to happen on the outskirts of India at some time.”
What makes extreme heat dangerous is the combination of high temperatures and humidity, steam-bath mix that has its own yardstick: the temperature of the wet bulb (WB).
If your body gets too hot it increases the heart rate and delivers sweat to your skin, where sweating cools it. However, once you reach a certain threshold of heat-plus-humidity , the natural cooling mechanism shuts down.
“Think about it like a sun burn in the body of yours,” said Mora.
A wet-bulb temperature of around 35C WB is enough to kill a young adult within 6 hours. The last week in Central Indian town of Nagpur briefly measured 32.2 WB.
“The rising heatwaves, floodsand cyclones and droughts we’ve observed in this region thus far is a response to only 1 level Celsius,” Roxy Mathew Koll is an expert in climate science at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology she told AFP.
“It is hard to imagine what the impact will be when the rise in global temperatures is doubled.”