Three regions in India have been reporting deadly heatwaves in the recent years and are likely to cause severe impact on health, agriculture, economy and infrastructure, revealed a recent report by the India-Mahamana Centre of Excellence in Climate Change Research (MCECCR) at Banaras Hindu University.
The research conducted at the BHU found that three regions in India—North-Western, Central, and further to the south-central region are the new hotspot of intense heatwave events over the past half-century.
The study also highlights the need for developing effective heat action plans mainly in the three heatwave hotspot regions with a special focus on different vulnerabilities among the inhabitants. The research conducted by a team led by Professor R K Mall from MCECCR found that the heatwave has caused severe impacts on health, agriculture, economy, and infrastructure.
In such a scenario, it is extremely important to identify the most heatwave vulnerable regions of the country to prioritize immediate policy intervention and stringent mitigation and adaptation strategies, the report suggested.
The MCECCR team studied the change in spatial and temporal trends in Heatwaves (HW) and Severe heatwaves (SHW) over the past seven decades in different meteorological subdivisions of India.
The study showed a shift in the Spatio-temporal trend of HW events from the eastern region of Gangetic West Bengal and Bihar to North-Western, Central and further to the south-central region of India.
The research also observed an alarming southward expansion and a spatial surge in SHW events in the last few decades that may put a greater population at additional risk of heat stress in a region already characterized by low Diurnal temperature range (DTR).
Importantly, the HW/SHW events were found to be positively correlated with mortality in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, highlighting that human health is highly susceptible to severe heatwave disasters, the report stated.
“With an ever-increasing extreme-temperature threshold, a heat resilient future is the need of the hour. Dense population with an intensive outdoor work culture calls for equitable heat resilient mitigation and adaptation strategies covering each section of the society depending on their vulnerability,” the report said.
The study also highlights the need for developing effective heat action plans in the three heatwave hotspot regions to mitigate. Reliable future projections are needed to mitigate future disastrous implications of exacerbated heat extremes and frame adequate adaptation measures in the wake of possible emergence of new hotspots.