July 2, 2022

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Three questions about the intense heat wave that will hit India and Pakistan

Furnace in mid-April. On Thursday, April 28, a severe heat wave hit parts of India and Pakistan, with temperatures hovering above 46 C in several cities in these two countries, which make up almost 20% of the world’s population. V.S.The Indian Meteorological Department said the extreme heat wave will continue for another five days in northwestern and central India and into the east till the weekend. France Info takes on this new manifestation of global warming.

1What is the recorded temperature?

On April 29, it was 47.4 C in India’s northern Panda and 46.2 C in the capital, New Delhi. Records of the Indian Meteorological Department*. “It’s very hot, it’s unbearable. Generally, in March – April, it’s mild, it’s spring, it’s very hot in May – June – July. There, it’s already very heavy, see how I sweat.”France 2 testifies on Deepak Kumar pulling his cart through the streets of New Delhi.

“This is the first time I’ve seen so much heat in April.”65-year-old AFP Tara Singh has been running a small street shop in Delhi since 1978. “The betel I use to sell pans [tabac à chiquer] Will spoil faster than usual. It’s usually in the summer, in May. “. Already in March, Delhi rose to 40.1C, the hottest month on record since 1946.

The extreme heat is also prevailing in neighboring Pakistan. In the southern hemisphere, the thermometer rose until Thursday, the April record. It was 47 C at Jakobabad in the same part of the Indus and 46 C at Khairpur. Pakistan Meteorological Center *. “Temperatures in some parts of the country are 5 to 7 degrees Celsius higher than seasonal norms.”Friday report Same department*. According to the same source, March 1961 was the hottest month on record.

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2Is it related to global warming?

As the IPCC reminded us in its latest report, heat waves are one of the most obvious manifestations of climate change. Since the 1950s, man-induced climate change-driven heat spikes have become more frequent and intense.

“Climate change raises high temperatures in India”AFP confirmed to Mariam Zachariah, a scientist at Imperial College London and author of an as yet unpublished analysis of the current heat wave. “Before human activities increase global warming, the heat like the one that hit India earlier this month would have been seen only once in fifty years.The expert adds. We can now expect higher temperatures like this once every four years.

To his colleague Friedrich Otto, co-author of the latest IPCC report, “Until the end of net greenhouse gas emissions, heat waves will continue to be hot and dangerous in India and elsewhere.”These gases are produced when fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) are used to move, heat or feed us.

3What are the effects of heat waves?

At the peak of this heat there were no more human beings. But these extreme heat waves are killed. In May-June 2015, a comparable episode recalled that 3,500 people died in India and 1,100 in Pakistan. British Encyclopedia*. According to the AFP, heat waves have killed more than 6,500 people in India since 2010. In Calcutta, eastern India, sugar water was distributed to passengers after a series of ill health on public transport.

In New Delhi, heat is causing another public health problem. Garbage cans, such as balsa, ignite spontaneously and spread their toxic fumes into homes. Three huge fires have erupted in a month at the largest garbage dump in the capital, Ghazipur, which is a huge mountain of 65 meters high rubbish. In Pakistan, Meteorological Center * Warns against the risk of flash floods due to the sudden splitting of the glacier.

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Those who have the facility to protect themselves from the heat turn on the air conditioners. But the use of the latter causes electricity consumption to explode, causing rations and power cuts in northwestern Rajasthan, western Gujarat and southern Andhra Pradesh. “The situation is worse across India”Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was quoted by the AFP as saying. In Pakistan, pLast week many cities and towns experienced power outages of up to eight hours a day, while rural areas experienced half-day power outages.

These consumption peaks are pushing these countries into a real vicious circle: in India, 83% Electricity * Produced by burning coal (55%) and oil (28%). In Pakistan, This is 86% * Gas (43%), oil (25%) and coal (18%). Fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases, further aggravate global warming.

* All links marked with star are in English.