Heat wave situation in India could break the human survivability limit

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The World Bank report titled “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector” said  Severe heat wave, responsible for thousands of deaths across India over the last few decades, are increasing with alarming frequency and soon the country could become one of the first places in the world to experience heat waves that break the human survivability limit.

 According to a new report the country is experiencing higher temperatures that arrive earlier and stay far longer; it said the recent heat wave supports what many climate scientists have long cautioned about with reference to rising temperatures across South Asia.

The Sixth Assessment Report (Aug 2021) of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the Indian subcontinent would suffer more frequent and intense heat waves over the coming decade.

LEARNING FROM HOME/WITHOUT CLASSES/BASICS Qualitatively, heat wave is a condition of air temperature that becomes fatal to the human body when exposed. Quantitatively, it is defined based on the temperature thresholds over a region in terms of actual temperature or its departure from normal. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has given the following criteria for Heat Waves : If  the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C for Plains and at least 30°C for Hilly regions it is considered a Heat Wave. When the normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40°C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 5°C to 6°C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 7°C or more When the normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40°C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 4°C to 5°C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 6°C or more When the actual maxium temperature remains 45°C or more irrespective of the normal maximum temperature, heat waves should be declared. ANTHROPOGENIC CLIMATE CHANGE:  A change caused by human activity. CLIMATE CHANGE:  Climate Change refers to any change in climate over time whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.  Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere; The term is frequently used interchangeably with the term climate change, though the latter refers to both human- and naturally produced warming and the effects it has on our planet.    Greenhouse gases allow sunlight (shortwave radiation) to pass through the atmosphere freely, where it is then partially absorbed by the surface of the Earth. Greenhouse gases can trap heat (longwave radiation) in the atmosphere, keeping the Earth’s surface warmer than it would be if it were not present. These gases are the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. Increases in the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere enhance the greenhouse effect which creates global warming and consequently climate change. So the more greenhouse gases you have in the atmosphere, the more heat stays on Earth. The principal forcing greenhouse gases are: Carbon dioxide (CO2); Methane (CH4); Nitrous oxide (N2O); Fluorinated gases UNFCCC The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. Today, it has near-universal membership. The 197 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention. The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of three adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992. Preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system is the ultimate aim of the UNFCCC. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system.” PARIS AGREEMENT The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework The Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation, and adaptation. 195 countries signed Paris Agreement in 2015.The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. The Paris Agreement mandates all countries to take action to minimize the impact of climate change as per their voluntary commitments and individual capacity. It sets a global goal of keeping global average temperatures from rising 2°C (compared to temperatures of pre-Industrial Revolution) by the end of the century.


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