Massive heat wave in India


The massive heat wave in India forces environmentalists to think of the link with global warming, and the years ahead.

Massive heat wave in India

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  1. In year 2017, several states in India started experiencing heat wave conditions in the month of March itself. Temperatures rose to more than 40°C in many parts of western and central India, with a few places recording temperatures above 45°C. It is therefore, important for us to understand the issue.
  2. What is a heat wave:  According to IMD (India Meteorological Department) definition, a place is said to be under the influence of a heat wave when the temperature exceeds 5 to 6 degrees of the normal.
  3. What causes heat waves: When high pressure from above 10,000-25,000 ft remains strong over an area for several days to weeks, air from the upper layer is pulled towards the ground, where it gets compressed, which increases temperature and  heat waves occur. This happens during the summer as the jet stream follows the path of the Sun.
  4. Global warming and heat waves: Global warming is no longer an event facing the future generations, but has already arrived. Changes in climate and increasing temperatures are being documented all across the globe.
  5. Climate change conventions and protocols
    • (1) UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), an international environmental treaty negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. 
    • (2) Kyoto Protocol was adopted on December 11, 1997 and came into force on February 16, 2005. It commits State parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as human-made CO2 emissions have caused global warming. 
    • (3) Paris Agreement was adopted on December 12, 2015. It aims to hold the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and making finance flows towards low greenhouse gas emissions.
  6. Trump and climate change: President Trump calls climate change science a “hoax”. He said during his election campaign that he would scrap President Obama’s greenhouse policies, the Paris Agreement and gut the US Environment Protection Agency.
  7. Impact of heat waves: Though the year 2016 has been the hottest year on record so far, the maximum number of casualties due to heat wave was recorded in the year 2015, when at least 2500 people died. The highest number of deaths were recorded in Andhra Pradesh (1735) and neighbouring Telangana region (585).
The complex interplay between global warming and heat waves will be interesting to watch in the future. Read a full Bodhi on environmental concerns here, and many Bodhi Saars on related topic here.



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Bodhi Saar: Massive heat wave in India
Massive heat wave in India
The massive heat wave in India forces environmentalists to think of the link with global warming, and the years ahead.
Bodhi Saar
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