Nearly 5 billion people endured extreme heat in June; 619 million affected in India: Report

Nearly five billion people globally, including 619 million from India, experienced climate-change-driven extreme heat over nine days in June, according to a new analysis by an independent group of scientists based in the US.
Climate change
Climate change

New Delhi | Nearly five billion people globally, including 619 million from India, experienced climate-change-driven extreme heat over nine days in June, according to a new analysis by an independent group of scientists based in the US.

The report by Climate Central said that the blistering heat in June impacted 619 million people in India, 579 million in China, 231 million in Indonesia, 206 million in Nigeria, 176 million in Brazil, 171 million in Bangladesh, 165 million in the US, 152 million in Europe, 123 million in Mexico, 121 million in Ethiopia, and 103 million in Egypt.

"More than 60 per cent of the world population faced extreme heat that was made at least three times more likely by climate change during June 16-24," it said.

Andrew Pershing, chief program officer at Climate Central, said, "More than a century of burning coal, oil, and natural gas has given us an increasingly dangerous world. The heat waves around the world this summer are unnatural disasters that will become more common until carbon pollution stops." Climate Central's Climate Shift Index (CSI) determines the influence of climate change on temperatures around the globe.

"Between June 16-24, 4.97 billion people experienced extreme heat reaching CSI levels of at least 3, indicating that climate change made these temperatures at least three times more likely to occur," the report said.

India, which experienced one of its hottest and longest heat waves, recorded more than 40,000 suspected heat stroke cases and over 100 heat-related deaths. The intense heat overwhelmed the water supply system and power grids, with Delhi grappling with a severe water crisis.

According to the India Meteorological Department, around 40 per cent of the country recorded double the number of heatwave days than usual during the April to June period. Temperatures breached 50 degrees Celsius in parts of Rajasthan, with nighttime temperatures hovering around 35 degrees Celsius in many places.

In Delhi, which logged 40 consecutive days of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius since May 13, there have been around 60 heat-related deaths this year, according to media reports.

In Saudi Arabia, at least 1,300 people died from heat-related illnesses during the annual Haj pilgrimage. Temperatures were extremely high, with some cities surpassing 50 degrees Celsius.

Climate Central's analysis found that the city of Mecca experienced temperatures made at least three times more likely due to climate change every day since May 18, and five times more likely since May 24.

Climate change
Climate change

A previous analysis by climate scientists at Climameter, an EU-funded initiative, found that climate change made the heat wave in Saudi Arabia up to 2.5 degrees Celsius hotter.

The US suffered two back-to-back heat episodes during the last two weeks of June.

The first heat wave affected the southern part of the country, Mexico, and countries in Central America.

In Mexico, at least 125 people died, with temperatures reaching 52 degrees Celsius in the Sonora state on June 21. A study by the World Weather Attribution group found that climate change made the extreme heat of May and June 35 times more likely.

In Egypt, high temperatures nearing 50 degrees Celsius have been recorded in recent days. In the southern province of Aswan, at least 40 people have died.

The high temperatures have caused a surge in energy consumption across the country, forcing the government to impose daily power cuts to avoid overloading the electrical grid.

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