In much of India and Pakistan, April, May and June, the months leading up to the monsoon season, are the warmest months. In the last decade it has often happened that temperatures started to rise earlier than usual and so also this year: they have risen since March, the hottest month on record in more than a century in India, and this week they surpassed themselves. 45 ° C in many locations. The Indian government’s meteorological department predicts that the situation will worsen over the course of the weekend, and that there will be significant drops in temperatures from Monday alone thanks to the arrival of rainfall.
The heat has already created various problems: for people’s health, for agricultural activities, for extinguishing fires and for energy production, since air conditioning is used more at a time when the price of coal – the main fuel used as an energy source in these countries – was already higher than usual due to the international situation. The most affected areas are located in the north-east of India, particularly in the state of Rajasthan.
Much of the Indian and Pakistani population living in rural areas do not have home cooling systems, so they are particularly exposed to heat stroke. Many people are also turning to doctors because of gastrointestinal discomfort caused by having eaten food that had spoiled due to the heat. In the Indian state of Odisha, schools were closed for a week due to excessive heat; in West Bengal it was decided to bring summer holidays a few days earlier.
Although most people do not have air conditioning systems at home, the increased demand for energy to power existing ones has tested the power grids of many cities, including New Delhi, where authorities fear blackouts. There had been no such low coal reserves in India for at least nine years, and on Friday, dozens of passenger trains were canceled to prioritize the transportation of coal destined for power plants. On Friday, Satyendar Jain, the Indian capital’s local government minister of health and energy, said that many coal-fired power plants currently have enough fuel for less than a day of power generation.
Also in New Delhi there is a problem with landfills: in the last week various fires have broken out in the waste. According to the authorities they are due to spontaneous combustion phenomena caused by high temperatures, which certainly favor their propagation.
The meteorological department of the government of Pakistan, on the other hand, fears that higher than usual temperatures could favor sudden floods due to the partial melting of Himalayan glaciers. In 2013, when it happened such a thing in the Indian state of Uttarakhandmore than 5,700 people died.
Finally, as far as crops are concerned, excessive heat risks damaging the plants before harvesting and prevents farmers and laborers from working for most of the day. Especially wheat is at risk.
Since 2010, periods of intense heat like the present one have caused the deaths of more than 6,500 people in India and according to climate scientists, global warming could make things more difficult in the coming years, across Southeast Asia. Prolonged periods with higher than normal temperatures have always existed, but in this part of the world they are expected to become more frequent, longer and more dangerous.
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The heat is causing turmoil in India and Pakistan – Il Post
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