Indian cities may face deadly heatwaves due to global warming, warn scientists

The trend may expose over 350 million additional people to heat stress by 2050, if population continues to grow as expected, researchers said.

By: PTI | London | Published:March 28, 2017 4:50 pm
Heatwave, India heatwave, megacities heat wave, Kolkata heatwave, global warming, India global warming, heat stress, heat stress India,  India deaths heatwave, India news Representational Image.

Global megacities like Kolkata could face annual deadly heat waves like the one that claimed over 2,000 lives in India in 2015, even if global warming is halted at the levels struck under the Paris deal, scientists have warned. Nations supporting the 2015 Paris Agreement have pledged to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

However, extreme heat events are expected to occur ever more often as the two degree Celsius limit is approached, researchers said.

An analysis of 44 of the 101 most populous “megacities” showed that the number of cities experiencing heat stress doubled with 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, researchers said.

The trend would potentially expose more than 350 million additional people to heat stress by 2050, if population continues to grow as expected, researchers said.

“As the climate warms, the number and intensity of heat waves increases,” said Tom Matthews, a climatologist at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.

“Research has shown this to be the case for the global warming experienced to date, and our research is the latest to show that we can expect even larger increases as the climate continues to warm,” Matthews was quoted as saying by ‘Health Day’.

Even if global warming is halted at Paris goals, the megacities of Karachi in Pakistan and Kolkata in India could face annual conditions similar to the deadly heat waves that gripped those regions in 2015, researchers said.

During the 2015 heat waves in those areas, about 1,200 people died in Pakistan and more than 2,000 died in India.

These heat waves are particularly threatening to large cities containing lots of heat-absorbing asphalt and concrete, not to mention huge populations, said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

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  1. A
    Abhishek
    Mar 29, 2017 at 6:54 am
    1. Promoting usage of eco-friendly, less heat absorbing material. E.g., why do we need to copy the West by having so many fibregl building- which then require extensive use of air conditioning to remain cool?lt;br/gt;2. Planting as many trees as possible- in 5-10 years, this would start making a difference. Would also prevent soil erosion.lt;br/gt;3. Promoting sustainable practices- although Indian practices are already very eco- friendly compared to the West- an example- an average Indian uses only 1/10th of the water used by a person in a Western city.lt;br/gt;The bottom line is- we should follow our own models rather than follow the Western model blindly. At the same time, it is our prerogative how much we decide about following and not following any other model. Such studies could also been done to scare people in India and promote the Western environmentalism.
    Reply
  2. Y
    Yodha
    Mar 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm
    Climate change is real. Adopt a sustainable lifestyle. Join the community
    Reply
  3. Y
    Yodha
    Mar 28, 2017 at 12:16 pm
    Climate change is real. Adopt a sustainable lifestyle. Join the facebook community @ecosters
    Reply
  4. S
    Shankar
    Mar 29, 2017 at 4:38 am
    and we are still behind mindless "DEVELOPMENT" in reality today that word actually means destruction ....
    Reply