New Delhi: The exhausting heatwave in March and April in South Asian countries, especially in India and Pakistan, claimed several lives. This heatwave was made 30 times more likely by climate change, experts in quantifying the impact of global warming on extreme weather events said in a rapid-response report Monday.
Before the onset of human-caused climate change, the chances of such an event occurring would have been roughly once every 3,000 years, senior author Friederike Otto, a scientist at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute, said.
Global warming to date of 1.2 degrees Celsius has shortened the so-called return period for extreme heat of similar duration and intensity in South Asia to once-a-century, she and colleagues in the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group found.
But as the planet continues to heat up, the interval between such killer heatwaves will reduce further.
The aforementioned report claimed that such a heatwave could be expected as often as once every five years if Earth’s average surface temperature rises another four-fifths of a degree to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
As per current national commitments to curb carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement, the world will see global warming of 2.8 degrees Celsius.
According to senior author of the report, Friederike Otto, the next goal, then, is to “inform adaptation decision-making in the face of unprecedented future heat”.
Temperatures in March and April this year remained higher than usual in India and Pakistan.
More than 90 people died due to heatwaves in the last two months. But the number of deaths is expected to increase. Besides this, the tendency for illness has gone up.
The wheat crop was harmed by a heat wave and 60 to 70 percent less rainfall. India recently decided to ban wheat exports. Adverse weather is responsible for a sharp increase in the prices of necessary items all over the world.
The adverse weather affected the poor most. According to Pakistani climate scientist and co-author of the report, Fahad Saeed, global warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius will pose an existential threat to vulnerable populations without access to air conditioning or other ways to keep cool.
“As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue, events like these will become an increasingly common disaster,” said Otto.