August 13, 2022

The Indie Toaster

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49 degrees Celsius in India: Extreme heat makes outdoor work impossible for half the year the world

The Indian government has now released a report showing the effects of the heat wave with extreme temperatures that has just ended in the country. This is the hottest summer on record for the hottest days. Projections show that the country will be hit hard by global warming, but it is trying to protect the poor from the effects of higher temperatures.

India has recorded 203 days of extreme temperature, a record in its history. This figure is five times higher than in 2021. A heat wave is technically declared when the minimum temperature exceeds 45°C for at least two days.

The Indian government has arrived at this number by adding up the various extreme days experienced by about 20 regions, so multiple heat waves can occur in a single day. The northern part of the country, especially Rajasthan or Punjab, which borders Pakistan, was hit hard, with about 25 days of extreme temperatures in four months, six times more than in 2021.

This is part of a clear global warming trend. For the past 50 years, each decade has been hotter and more intense than the last. Between 2010 and 2020, India recorded more than twice as many warm days than in the previous ten years.

This year, the mercury soared to 49 degrees Celsius, an unprecedented temperature in New Delhi. This unfortunately follows the projections of the UN IPCC Climate Panel, which warns that the Indian subcontinent will be one of the regions most affected by climate change.

Uncontrolled urbanization creates “heat islands”.

In terms of adaptation, the task is difficult: authorities must manage rapid urban migration. This is done by rapidly building concrete towers that trap heat and are therefore equipped with air conditioning – but these machines release heat into the city.

Poorer migrants, on the other hand, settle in slums, poorly ventilated houses, and are the first victims of these heat waves.