Kochi | Scientists dispute the recent Union Health Ministry data claiming that this year’s heat wave deaths were the highest in Kerala. The data tabled in the Lok Sabha last week said that of the total 264 deaths this year, Kerala alone reported 120 deaths due to extreme weather conditions. It is followed by Gujarat (35), Telangana (20) and Maharashtra (14).
The intense heat wave deaths this year was the highest over the past five years, claiming 264 lives in the country. This is the highest death toll owing to the heat wave in the country over the past five years. Himachal has not reported a single heat wave death since 2015 from when it started keeping records.
The report tabled on Friday by the Union Minister of State SP Singh Bhagel was without basis, claimed a number of climatologists and scientists Metro Vaartha spoke to. “It is unfounded and the claim is highly questionable,” said a leading scientist of Cochin University of Science and Technology’s atmospheric sciences department.
March to August Is summer in the northern hemisphere. But that is also the time Kerala, closest to the Equator, receives southwest monsoon which makes the highest temperature not go beyond 40 degrees Celsius which otherwise should have been 48-50 degrees.
Besides, Kerala is also a narrow band with the water on one side and the Western Ghats on the other.
However, over the years, there has been a trend of June, when the monsoon starts, witnessing lesser rainfall. The cloudy conditions prevail, leading to more solar radiation which sees temperature rising substantially. They say there is no data of any case of heatwave or deaths due to this as claimed by the Union report.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the average maximum temperature, this year, over the south peninsular region, which includes Kerala and Telangana, was the highest ever at 34.05 degree Celsius since 1901.