A scorching heatwave that hit parts of South Asia in April was at least 30 times more likely to be caused by climate change, according to a rapid study by international scientists released Wednesday. .
Some stations in India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos recorded scorching temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit last month, which is unusually high for this time of year.
Heat caused by climate change has resulted in deaths, widespread hospitalizations, damaged roads, fires and school closures in the region.
The World Weather Attribution group uses established models to quickly determine whether climate change played a role in extreme weather. The research itself has not yet been peer-reviewed, the gold standard of science, but is often later published in peer-reviewed journals.
India hits record high temperature amid heatwave
Thailand was hot and humid, with temperatures surpassing 122 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas. In India, several parts of the country were affected, with 13 people dying from the heat at a public event on the outskirts of India’s business capital Mumbai. The eastern Indian state of West Bengal has closed all schools and universities for a week.
The study found that climate change has warmed the region by at least 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
India and Bangladesh could experience April heatwaves every one to two years if average global temperatures were up to 2 degrees Celsius higher than in the late 1800s, the study said. The world is now about 2-2.2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than before the industrial revolution.
Friedrike Otto, a senior climate scientist at Imperial College London and one of the study’s authors, said: “We have repeatedly confirmed that climate change will dramatically increase the frequency and intensity of heatwaves, and this is one of the deadliest weather events on Earth.”
The Heat Management Plan, run and funded by the government, aims to help people cope with extreme heat through awareness programs, training for health workers and affordable cooling methods. and other heat-affected countries need to be implemented more quickly, the study authors said. Said.
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Emmanuel Raj, director of the Copenhagen Disaster Research Center at the University of Copenhagen and one of nearly two researchers on the study, said, “Many of the region’s population lack access to medical care and cooling measures such as fans and air conditioners. lacking,” he said. dozens of authors.
Raju stressed that the heat would hit the poorest people the hardest and those who need to be outdoors for work: farmers, street vendors and construction workers.
“It’s important to have a conversation about who can handle and adapt to the heat,” he says. “Many people are still recovering from the pandemic and past heatwaves and cyclones, creating a vicious circle.”
According to various global climate studies, the South Asian region is considered one of the most climate sensitive regions in the world. But India, the region’s largest country and the world’s most populous country, is now also the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Scientists argue that the only solution is drastic measures to cut carbon emissions immediately.
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Professor Chaya Vadhanapoorhi of Chiang Mai University in Thailand says that if we continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, “heatwaves will become more common, temperatures will rise further, and hot days will increase in number and frequency. would,’ he said. He is also a co-author of the study.
Vimal Mishra, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar, who studies climate in the region, acknowledged the importance of research attributing certain weather phenomena to climate change, but said more action was needed. .
“Beyond attribution, we should talk about how climate change is fundamentally affecting weather and consider how climate resilience can be developed,” he said. said.