Heatwaves linked to man made Climate Change

What is the News?

According to Scientists, India’s long spell of Heatwaves is significantly due to human-induced climate change.

What is Heatwave?

According to the Indian Meteorological Department(IMD), Heatwave is a condition of air temperature which becomes fatal to the human body when exposed.

Quantitatively, Heatwave is defined based on the temperature thresholds over a region in terms of actual temperature or its departure from normal. 

For instance, Heatwave will be declared if the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 °C or more for plains and at least 30 °C or more for Hilly regions.

How is Climate Change impacting Heatwaves and other conditions?

Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming: Accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere exacerbated temperatures in the oceans and the land and caused increased glacier melt, heightened sea level rise and led to changes in the biosphere.

– For instance, in Greenland warming waters around glaciers are heating even ice sheets, thereby accelerating warming.

Rising Sea Level: Sea levels are rising only three millimetres a year. But even this minor rise was responsible for driving greater numbers of extreme climate events such as floods that could devastate coastal regions, particularly in India.

Increased Carbon Dioxide Emissions: If carbon emissions remain unchecked, half the planet would be in severe drought by the century. Along with carbon dioxide emissions, pollution from biomass burning combined caused 1.5 million deaths annually in India.

What should India do to fight against the impact of Climate Change?

Provide Clean Cooking Fuel: India could cut its pollution by half just by providing clean cooking fuel to rural households in the Indo-Gangetic plain.

Prepare a 10-year Action Plan: India should prepare a 10-year plan to ensure that India’s poor who stood to be most affected by climate change were protected from heatwaves and wildfires.

Increase Forest Area: Nearly a third of emitted carbon dioxide didn’t make it to the atmosphere as they were absorbed back into the soil by forests and other vegetation thus slowing down temperature rise. Therefore, nature-based solutions such as increasing forest area would be valuable to India’s climate adaptation programmes.

Source: The post is based on the article “Heatwaves linked to man-made Climate Change” published in The Hindu on 30th April 2022. 

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