The human population has suffered on a large scale due to the long-standing heat wave in India and Pakistan and has also affected the supply of wheat globally. According to a rapid attribution analysis conducted by an international team of world’s leading climate scientists, the likelihood of such extreme heat due to climate change caused by harmful activities of humans has increased by about 30 times.
Unprecedented heatwaves started early this year in large parts of India and Pakistan. It started in early March and continues to a large extent. The month of March in India was the hottest month in the last 122 years. At the same time, the temperature in Pakistan also destroyed many records. Apart from this, the heat wave became even more severe in April. The month of March was extremely dry. During this period, Pakistan received 62% less pre-monsoon rains than normal, while in India this figure was 71%. At least 90 people died due to the heatwave. If the number of deaths is recorded properly, then this number will definitely increase.
Wheat production in India was adversely affected due to early arrival of heatwave and deficient rainfall. As a result, the government had to announce a ban on the export of wheat, due to which the prices of wheat rose at the global level. India had earlier hoped to export a record 10 million tonnes of wheat, which would have helped overcome the wheat shortage caused by the Ukraine-Russia war.
The kind of heat wave that is going on in the whole world today has been transformed by climate change into an even more rapid and quick disaster. To measure the impact of climate change on long-term high temperatures in India and Pakistan, scientists used the peer reviewed method to analyze computer simulations and meteorological data to compare the current climate with those from the late 19th century. degree Celsius on global warming, to be compared with the climate of the East.
The study focused on the mean maximum daily temperatures over northwest India and southeast Pakistan, which were the worst hit by the heat during March and April. Its results show that the likelihood of a long-lasting heatwave is still very low, that is, only 1% every year, but climate change caused by human activities has increased its likelihood by 30 times. That is, if there was no climate change due to human actions, then this period of severe heatwave would have been extremely rare.
Until greenhouse gas emissions are completely stopped, global temperatures will continue to rise and related extreme weather events will continue to occur more quickly. Scientists have found that such heatwaves will likely occur once every 5 years if the global temperature rise reaches 2 °C. Even due to the slow process of reducing emissions of polluting elements, the possibilities of such heat wave may remain intact.
The results of this study may underestimate how common such heatwaves are now and how quickly these heatwaves will occur if greenhouse gas emissions continue like this. This is because the weather data records are not available in such detail that researchers can statistically analyze them.
The study was carried out by 29 researchers under the World Weather Attribution Group. The group includes scientists from various universities and meteorological agencies in India, Pakistan, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
Responding to his response, Professor Krishna Achuta Rao, Center for Atmospheric Science, IIT Delhi, said, “It is normal for India and Pakistan to reach high levels of temperature, but this time the unexpected thing was that it started very early. Done and continues for a long time. In most parts of both the countries, people got some respite from the scorching heat in the last weeks. Due to the scorching heat, crores of workers and laborers especially working in the open had to face very difficult situation. We know that such situations will arise again and again in the coming times as the temperature is increasing and we need to prepare better to deal with it.”
Further, Arpita Mondal, Professor in Civil Engineering and Climate Studies, IIT Mumbai, said, “Heatwaves have the potential to increase the risk of forest fires. It can even cause drought. Thousands of people in the region, who contributed little to global warming, are now paying a heavy price for it. This disaster will continue to befall them unless significant reductions in emissions of polluting substances are made at the global level.