Hyderabad: The effect of heatwaves and extreme heat conditions was felt by 65.12 per cent of the Indian population from May to June 2019. The last time high summer temperatures affected large parts of the population was in 2016, when 59.32 per cent of the population was affected.
The World Resource Centre India has studied and analysed satellite data since 2016 to come up with these figures.
In 2017, the percentage was 61.4 but fell to 52.94 in 2018. In 2019, June temperatures were high in Telangana state and July temperatures were high in Delhi.
No deaths were registered from heatwave but the number of dehydration cases was at an all-time high in 2019 and there were 2,081 deaths due to dehydration.
Temperatures designated as being ‘above normal’ by the Indian Meteorological Department were found across all states in India, and in Telangana state it showed between 1 to 2 degrees above normal.
Temperatures in North India too were in the range of 3 to 5.1 degrees above normal in the month of June.
Data analysis by the World Meteorological Organisation found that in 2019, the temperatures in India shot up in the months of June and July, which is a departure from the normal climate conditions in the country.
Global warming is evident from this data and it is largely due to rising levels of carbon dioxide globally, creating more frequent and intense heat waves. The experts have taken into account a 2018 study by the IIT Gandhinagar, that said that if global temperatures continue to rise, the sub-continent will see an eight-fold rise in the heatwave conditions.
Increased heatwave conditions affect the core temperature of the body. Dr J. Anish Anand, consultant, internal medicine explained, “Heatwaves have led to an increase in heat stroke cases, bleeding from the nose, dehydration, dizziness and also death in those who are immune-compromised or elderly.”
He said that “heat related deaths are not recorded.” But now it is necessary to record deaths due to adverse events and climate change conditions.
While the day time temperatures have got the attention of the public it is also important to look at the night time temperatures which are equally warm. The hot winds and extreme heat at night is also on the rise, pushing up the sales of air-conditioners.
A senior government official in TS electricity department said, “We are allowed to remove power during the day but not at night as people raise a hue and cry. There are instances of angry customers coming to the station office and threatening officials. Hence till there is a strong wind movement or thunderstorm like condition, power is not removed at night.”
With predictions of even hotter days to come, addressing climate change should be a priority....