Climate change makes record heat waves in India and Pakistan 100 times more likely

By Lianne Kolirin, CNN

Climate change has made a record heatwave hitting northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely, scientists said on Wednesday, as both countries experience high temperatures that disrupt daily life.

In an analysis, climatologists from the UK’s Met Office found that the natural probability of a heat wave exceeding 2010 average temperatures would be once in 312 years, but when climate change is taken into account , the odds increase to once every 3.1 years.

April and May 2010 were used as a point of comparison because these months had the highest average temperatures since 1900.

Soaring temperatures in parts of Pakistan and India in recent weeks have forced schools to close, damaged crops, put pressure on energy supplies and kept residents indoors. It has even prompted experts to question whether such heat is suitable for human survival.

Jacobabad, one of the hottest cities in the world, in Pakistan’s Sindh province, hit 51 degrees Celsius (123.8F) on Sunday and 50C (122F) the day before. In neighboring India, temperatures in the capital region, Delhi, topped 49C (120F) on Sunday.

The analysis also made projections, showing that the frequency of these heat waves in the region would increase to once every 1.15 years by the end of the century.

“Hot spells have always been a feature of the region’s pre-monsoon climate in April and May. However, our study shows that climate change is driving the heat intensity of these periods, making record high temperatures 100 times more likely,” said Nikos Christidis of the Met Office, who produced the analysis. “By the end of the century, increasing climate change will likely result in temperatures of these values ​​on average each year.”

India and Pakistan are highly vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, especially in terms of extreme heat.

The IPCC’s Chandni Singh said earlier this month that there was a limit to how well humans could adapt to such heat, adding that the heat wave was “testing the limits of survivability. human”.

Scientists said a new temperature record was likely reached in the region during the recent heat wave.

Temperatures in the subcontinent have dropped slightly in recent days, but the respite is expected to be short-lived, according to Paul Hutcheon of the Met Office’s Global Guidance Unit.

“The heat looks likely to build up again from the middle of the week, peaking later in the week or over the weekend, with highs likely to reach 50C again in some places, with overnight temperatures very high,” he said on the Met. Agency website.

“Over the weekend, temperatures are expected to drop further closer to average. There is also a continued increased risk of fires (largely due to planned agricultural burns) in the region, which would further exacerbate the poor air quality Some strong winds will occasionally raise dust plumes.

The-CNN-Wire
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CNN’s Helen Regan, Rhea Mogul, Sophia Saifi, Asim Khan and Esha Mitra contributed to this report.

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