India's rising temperatures are already deadly

2017-06-08 16:42
Water is sprayed over a  Himalayan black bear to keep cool in an enclosure at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. (Noah Seelam, AFP)

Water is sprayed over a Himalayan black bear to keep cool in an enclosure at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. (Noah Seelam, AFP)

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New Delhi - India is now two and a half times more likely to experience a deadly heat wave than a half century ago and all it took was an increase in the average temperature of just 0.5°C, a new study shows.

The findings are sobering considering that the world is on track for far more warming. For the last two weeks much of Asia has been gripped by a heat wave, with a record high of 53.5°C set in the southwest Pakistani city of Turbat on May 28 - the world's hottest-ever temperature recorded for the month of May. Temperatures in the Indian capital of New Delhi have soared beyond 44°C.

Even if countries are able to meet the Paris Agreement goals in curbing climate-warming carbon emissions, that would still only limit the global temperature rise to an estimated 2°C.  US President Donald Trump's recent pledge to exit the Paris treaty won't help.

"It's getting hotter and of course more heat waves are going to kill more people," said climatologist Omid Mazdiyasni of the University of California, Irvine, who led an international team of scientists in analysing a half century of data from the Indian Meteorological Department on temperature, heat waves and heat-related mortality.

"We knew there was going to be an impact, but we didn't expect it to be this big," he said.


Read more on:    india  |  climate change

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