Climate Change Boosts the Odds of Record Heatwaves in India and Pakistan

We need to protect our planet and fight climate change. Or else deal with consequences. One of the consequences that have started to show up in different parts of the world is the occurrence of heatwaves. Countries like India and Pakistan are dealing with it right now, and the situation might worsen with time if strong actions to stop climate change are not taken.

The Study

According to a Met Office study, climate change is making record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely. Due to climate change, the said region can expect a heatwave that exceeds the record temperatures seen in 2010 once every three years. The Met Office also said that if climate change wasn't happening, such extreme temperatures would have occurred once in 312 years.

The Soaring Temperatures

This report comes at a time when forecasters are predicting that temperatures in North-West India could reach new highs in the next few days. Delhi, the capital of India, is already suffering at 49C as the heatwave has swept India. The poor people of the country are bearing the brunt of blistering heatwaves.

Though the pre-monsoon heatwave in the region eased a bit after peak temperatures reached 51C on Saturday in Pakistan, the heat will likely build again towards the end of this week, and the next, said the Met Office's Global Guidance Unit.

It also warned that maximum temperatures might reach 50C in some spots and very high overnight temperatures are also likely to continue.

Expert Opinion

Dr. Nikos Christidis, who led the team responsible for the study, stated, "Spells of heat have always been a feature of the region's pre-monsoon climate during April and May. However, our study shows that climate change is driving the heat intensity of these spells making record-breaking temperatures 100 times more likely."

The Aim

This new study is based on the heatwaves that occurred in Northwest India and Pakistan in April and May 2010. At that time, the region experienced the highest combined April and May average temperature since 1900. The study aimed at estimating the extent to which climate change made that and future events more likely.

The Comparison

The attribution study involved running computer simulations comparing how frequently a weather event is likely to occur in two scenarios. The first models the climate as it is today, while the second t a climate where the human influence on greenhouse gases and several other drivers of climate change has been removed.

These scenarios are run through 14 different computer models. They produce dozens of different simulations that are compared to work out how climate change has altered the probability of an event happening.

The study wanted to assess the impact of future climate change. The Met Office has warned that worse is to come. The study highlighted that if climate change follows the Met Office's central predictions, India and Pakistan can expect similarly high temperatures virtually every year by the end of the century.




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