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Is Climate Change Happening Faster Than Expected? – Free PDF Download


  • Do these heat waves mean climate change is happening faster than expected?
  • Millions of people are now experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand. Blistering heat waves have smashed temperature records around the globe this summer, scorching crops, knocking out power, fueling wildfires, buckling roads and runways, and likely killing thousands across Europe alone.

  • The signal for a railway crossing between King’s Cross and Peterborough melted due to the heat. Actually, it is very cold here, in such a situation, the material of the product is made according to the cold tolerance and they cannot bear the heat up to 40 degree Celsius.
  • In Manchester, the asphalt of the roads melted as the temperature rose. People also faced difficulty in driving and walking.

Heat Waves

  • A heatwave is a period of extremely hot weather, accompanied by high humidity from time to time, especially in oceanic climate countries.
  • It is a condition of air temperature which becomes fatal to the human body when exposed.

Criteria for Declaring a Heatwave

  • The Heatwave is considered when the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C for Plains and at least 30°C for Hilly regions.
  • If the normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40°C, then an increase of 5°C to 6°C from the normal temperature is considered to be heat wave condition.
  • Further, an increase of 7°C or more from the normal temperature is considered a severe heat wave condition.
  • In 2016, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued comprehensive guidelines to prepare national level key strategies for mitigating the impact of heatwaves.

Is climate change largely to blame for these extreme heat waves?

  • Global warming has established a hotter baseline for summer temperatures, which dramatically increases the odds of more frequent, more extreme, and longer-lasting heat waves, as study after study after study has clearly shown.
  • Climate change is driving this heat wave, just as it is driving every heat wave now.
  • Heat waves that used to be rare are now common; heat waves that used to be impossible are now happening and killing people.

IPCC report

  • The report mentions that sustained exposures to wet bulb temperatures above 35°C are fatal, while sustained exposures to wet bulb temperatures above 32°C are dangerous for intense physical activity.
  • However, there has been a growing concern about the 35°C threshold and whether parts of South Asia will become “unsurvivable” in the coming years.

MoES Report

  • The “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region” Report prepared by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences has cautioned that by the end of 2100, the “frequency of summer [April–June] heat waves over India is projected to be three to four times higher” and the “average duration of heatwave events is also projected to approximately double.”
  • The impact of heatwave stress is expected across India but particularly over the densely populated Indo-Gangetic river basin.

Is climate change unfolding faster than scientists expected?

  • The answer, at least in the broad sense, is no. In fact, the linked rise in greenhouse gas levels and global average temperatures has tracked tightly within the spread of model predictions, even dating back to cruder climate simulations from the 1970s.
  • Several researchers and studies, including the latest UN climate report, have highlighted just how closely observed temperatures have followed predicted increases.

Are climate models wrong about extreme events?

  • Certain real-world events have happened faster or to greater degrees than predicted by past or current models, including the loss of Arctic sea ice, the amount of land burned by wildfires, and the rapid increase in extreme temperature events in Europe in recent decades.
  • But climate models were not designed to predict regional extreme events. Their main task is to simulate average temperature changes across long time periods and wide areas.

What other forces could be contributing to very hot heat waves?

Drying out of soil and plants in some regions

  • this can accelerate warming during heat waves, because energy that would otherwise go into evaporating water goes to work warming the air.
  • In Europe, researchers have noted that a split in the jet stream and warming ocean waters could be playing a role in the uptick in extreme heat events across the continent.

Impact of Heat Waves

  1. Mortality and Morbidity
  2. Crop Damage
  3. Less Food Production and also High Prices
  4. Less Labour Productivity
  5. Wildfires
  6. Droughts
  • Healthcare crisis: Extreme heat is also linked to an increase in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, an increase in deaths from cardio-respiratory and other diseases, mental health issues, poor pregnancy and birth outcomes, and so on.
  • Productivity loss: Extreme heat reduces worker productivity, particularly among the more than 1 billion workers who are regularly exposed to high temperatures.
  • Increased Energy Demands: The sweltering heat wave raises energy demand, particularly for electricity, causing rates to rise.

What’s the outlook for the future?

  • As in other parts of the world, a heat wave in Europe can make it more likely for others to occur in the same area, because a period of extreme heat dries out the soil.
  • When there is some moisture in the soil, some of the sun’s energy is used in evaporating the water, leading to a slight cooling effect. But when one heat wave wipes out almost all the soil moisture, there is little left to evaporate when the next wave of hot air arrives. So more of the sun’s energy bakes the surface, adding to the heat.

What next?

  • The economies of both Europe and the U.S. remain firmly bonded to fossil-fuel consumption.
  • While Europe has been more vocal about cutting down emissions and has sought to invest heavily in renewables, this shift has been disrupted by the Ukraine war.
  • World leaders face a clear choice, it is either collective action or collective suicide.


The GRIHA standards are related to ?

  1. Architecture Standards
  2. Environment Standards
  3. Cost Effectiveness
  4. Defense Standards




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