One Hundred and Twenty Two Degrees Fahrenheit

For those of you who prefer celsuis, that's 50C and that's the forecast for northern India. Right now it's 113F across most of the Indian subcontinent though last week the mercury hit 119F in coastal Gujarat. And it's not even June yet.

The Guardian has more on the heatwave in India which has already claimed hundreds of lives.

Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.

The death toll is expected to rise with experts forecasting temperatures approaching 50C (122F) in coming weeks. More than 100 people are reported to have died in the state of Gujarat where the mercury topped at 48.5C last week. At least 90 died in Maharashtra, 35 in Rajasthan and 34 in Bihar.

Hospitals in Gujarat have been receiving around 300 people a day suffering from food poisoning and heat stroke, ministers said. Officials admit the figures are only a fraction of the total as most of the casualties are found in remote rural villages.

Wildlife and livestock has also suffered with voluntary organisations in Gujarat reporting the deaths of bats and crows and dozens of peacocks reported dead at a forest reserve in Uttar Pradesh.

"Because of the heat, lakes and other water bodies have been reduced to parched land, making dehydration common in such birds," said Neeraj Srivastava, a wildlife campaigner.

Even India's northern hill stations – historically a refuge from the heat – have not escaped. Temperatures in Shimla, recorded a peak temperature of 32.4 Celsius, eight degrees hotter than the seasonal average.

After a drought last year, India's farmers are now impatient for the arrival of the monsoon, which irrigates 60% of India's fields. National meteorologists have forecast "normal" rains for this year, a relief in a country where prices of basic foodstuffs have rocketed in recent months due to growing shortages and structural problems with agriculture.

Forecasters have predicted that the south-west monsoon could arrive over the southern state of Kerala as early as today, but it is unlikely to reach the parched north before the end of June. "It's too long to wait. We'll all go mad before," said Sanjoy Kumar, who sells dumplings from a stall in south Delhi.

The capital has sweltered under intense heat for weeks though, having endured temperatures of around 45C last week, dust storms and scattered rain brought some relief over the weekend. The new air-conditioned metro has seen record numbers of passengers as travellers abandon buses, taxis and auto rickshaws.

Parts of the city have suffered prolonged electricity blackouts and, in outlying suburbs, water shortages. In upmarket Mehrauli village, residents were forced to buy from private suppliers plying door to door with tankers. In the new town of Gurgaon, entire apartment blocks have run short. In the city of Nagpur, Maharashtra, petrol pumps ran dry after railway wagons which normally carry fuel were switched to supply water.

The Indian Meterological Department attributes the record heat to lack of atmospheric humidity, hot dry winds blowing across the south-western Thar desert and the effects of last year's El Nino cycle.

Mean temperatures for both March and April were the highest in more than 100 years.

Thousands of people may die but to the right wing global warming, well, that's just a scientific conspiracy. With whom are they conspiring, the Sun?

Tags: India, global climate change (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

wild

Wow, that is hot.  I used to live in Porterville CA, where we had a month of over 100 degrees straight one summer. It's going to get even more crazier.

 

OT, but this is a whacked google ad on the side of this:

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by Jerome Armstrong 2010-05-31 12:41AM | 0 recs
Doesn't count!

Blizzards in the New England states and late snow in California's Sierra Nevada absolutely, positively prove that global warming is a hoax by Al Gore (he's fat!) and his communistic co-conspirators in the community of climatologists. Proof positive!

A record-shattering heatwave in India? Just a regional phenomenon. Proves nothing. Nothing at all.

[/channeling my right-wing dad]

by Zeno 2010-05-31 01:27AM | 0 recs
RE: Doesn't count!

This is not exactly an issue that can be settled over an afternoon of coffee and donuts.

by MainStreet 2010-05-31 12:26PM | 0 recs
Last winter was also one of the mildest in history

I was in India with my wife's family and we traveled all across North India. Historically it is supposed to be quite cold (most nights it used to get near freezing) during that time of the year, but temperatures in Delhi hardly dipped below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be a hard summer this year.

by tarheel74 2010-05-31 10:56AM | 0 recs
This is just tragic. The poor and impoverished are likely to sustain the downside of global warming.

One fears that global warming is now out of control and more deaths will occur.

by MainStreet 2010-05-31 12:22PM | 0 recs
RE: This is just tragic. The poor and impoverished are likely to sustain the downside of global warming.

It's the countries least responsible for global climatic change that will pay the greatest costs. Kiribati and the Maldives will likely be gone in a century. Bangladesh could lose a third of its land to encroaching water. Then again we could lose Miami and New Orleans.

by Charles Lemos 2010-05-31 12:28PM | 0 recs
RE: One Hundred and Twenty Two Degrees Fahrenheit

Thousands of people may die but to the right wing global warming, well, that's just a scientific conspiracy. With whom are they conspiring, the Sun?

 

2008 Jan & Feb was the coldest winter in the last 40 years in many cities of India like Mumbai, Pune etc. What does that prove?

 

by gaf 2010-05-31 12:47PM | 0 recs
Global Warming may exist, but let's not use one season's temperatures as proof

Otherwise people would strike back at the colder temperatures we had earlier.

 

FWIW, when I visited india in the 70s, we played with my cousins in 120 degree heat. (not daily, but the temperature did hit that mark a couple of times). I got a heat stroke and never played in the summer outside over there until it was 4pm at the earliest.

by Pravin 2010-06-01 10:49PM | 0 recs

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