The problem is also widespread across the country, affecting not only typical hotspots in the northwest and southeast, but also regions that are not used to seeing such extreme heat, says Mondal. And the effects are even sharper due to the lack of precipitation so far this season.
“It’s part of a broader signal of climate change,” he said Amir AghaKouchak, climate researcher at the University of California, Irvine. The average annual temperature in India grew at a rate of 0.62 ° C per 100 years between 1901 and 2020, according to data from World bank. And maximum temperatures have risen even faster, at a rate of 0.99 ° C every 100 years.
“People think that a degree or two may not matter,” says Agha Kouchak, but when average temperatures rise even by small amounts, it means that extreme events are more likely.
The effects of climate change on weather are sometimes difficult to detect. But when it comes to heat waves, researchers have “very much confidence” that climate change is exacerbating the problem, says Agha Kouchak.
Heat can have devastating effects on human health– 356,000 deaths worldwide in 2019 associated with extreme heat. The risk is greatest for the elderly and children, but anyone who does not have adequate access to cooling can be affected, especially if the heat lasts for days without subsiding at night.