Thousands of people lost their lives in Europe due to heatwaves, and two months are still left of summer. Forest fires, scorching sun, drying river, thirsty wildlife, and dehydrated humankind has become so evident that climate change seems like the nemesis of mankind. In India also March 2022 has been the warmest, with an average maximum temperature of 33.1ºC, or 1.86 °C above the long-term average. Heatwaves are extended and abnormal high temperature, which is more than the normal maximum temperature in a region for 2 days in a row.
What are heatwaves caused by?
The main reason for a heat wave is Climate change. As per Dr Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and co-lead of World Weather Attribution:
“Climate change is driving this heatwave, just as it is driving every heatwave now. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil are making heatwaves hotter, longer-lasting and more frequent. Heatwaves that used to be rare are now common; heatwaves that used to be impossible are now happening and killing people. We saw this with the Pacific Northwest heatwave last year, which would have been almost impossible without human-caused warming. Heatwaves will keep getting worse until greenhouse gas emissions are halted. The longer it takes the world to reach net-zero emissions, the hotter and more dangerous heatwaves will get, and the more common and longer-lasting they will be.
The only way to stop heat records being broken time and again is to stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”
Climate Change- A Disaster
On increased frequency of heatwaves Dr Eunice Lo, Climate Scientist, University of Bristol, says:
“Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense as the globe warms up, so we can expect more and hotter heat waves in future. Scientists have linked many past heatwaves to human-induced climate change. This means that observed heatwaves have been made more likely to occur or more intense because of human emissions of greenhouse gases. An attribution study is needed to quantify this for the current heatwave, but we know that climate change has increased the chances of extreme heatwaves in general. As emissions continue, we can expect temperatures to rise further. Record-breaking temperatures will become more likely to occur. The current hottest UK temperature is 38.7°C, recorded at Cambridge Botanic Garden in July 2019. Scientists expect this record to be broken in the future because of climate change. Extreme heat can be dangerous to human health. On average, about 2,000 extra deaths in England are related to heatwaves each year. It is important to stay hydrated, stay indoors or under shade, and check on friends and family during a heatwave. While sunny weather is often much welcomed, it’s important not to underestimate the impacts of heat and to take appropriate precautions. We also need to adapt to heat in the long term. This includes designing homes, schools and hospitals that have good ventilation and prevent overheating, increasing green space and parks in cities, and making heat warnings accessible to all.”
Impacts Of Heat Waves On Human
While talking about the effects of heat waves, Environmentalist Dr. Seema Javed said that climate change has made the heat wave more intense, and it has quickly turned into an impending disaster. Due to the heat wave, the human population has suffered on a large scale, which is affecting India, Pakistan and now Europe, the UK. Heatwaves are even hot, long-lasting and frequent due to greenhouse gases released from burning fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil due, which these heat waves are forming. Until the emission of greenhouse gases is completely stopped, the global temperature will remain the same.
What IPCC says
According to IPCC Special Report on Global Warming- report finds that at 2 degrees Celsius warming, some places will see an increase in heavy rainfall events compared to at 1.5 degrees warming, especially in the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes (Alaska/Western Canada, Eastern Canada/Greenland/Iceland, Northern Europe, Northern Asia); mountainous regions like the Tibetan Plateau; Southeast Asia; and Eastern North America, with higher flooding risks.
Now we all can feel what Greta Thunberg said- “Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.”