Monday, May 30, 2016

India’s roads melt in record-breaking heat wave

If Mulims follow Turkey's President Erdogan advice to avoid birth control and multiply greatly, he is calling for more of problems like this.

For the news article dates, note that
Indian Standard Time is 9 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Eastern Time
10:55 PM Monday, Indian Standard Time (IST) is
1:25 PM Monday, Eastern Time (ET)

Alexandra Sims
Monday 23 May 2016

India’s on-going heat wave, which set a new record for the country’s highest-ever recorded temperature last week, is melting tarmac on the roads of some of India's busiest cities.

Residents in the city of Valsad, Gujarat, had to fight melting tar while crossing the road as temperatures rose to 36C [97F}.

Video footage from NDTV shows people becoming trapped on a melting road surface as their shoes stick in the softening tarmac.

Abandoned sandals are seen strewn across the sticky roadway and a woman falls over as she attempts to carry a heavy bag over the road.

Temperatures in parts of western India exceeded 50C [122F] on Friday. The record – a scorching 51C [124] – was set in the city of Phalodi, in the western state of Rajasthan. The previous high was 50.6C in 1956 in the city of Alwar, also in Rajasthan.

Indian weather officials have warned of more frequent heat waves as the scorching temperatures cause an increase in dehydration and heatstroke cases, as well as triggering widespread power cuts as surging demand overwhelms supply grids.

Hundreds of people have died as crops have withered in the fields in more than 13 states, forcing tens of thousands of small farmers to abandon their land and move into the cities. Others have killed themselves rather than go to live in urban shanty towns.


May and June are typically India’s hottest months and temperatures regularly exceed 40C [104F] in the run-up to the monsoon rains, but the severity of this year’s heat had been unprecedented.


Posted at: May 30, 2016, 12:59 AM; last updated: May 30, 2016, 12:59 AM (IST)

REPORTS of abnormal temperature are received from all quarters. A Bombay message says that at Ahmedabad the weather continues to be abnormally hot; the maximum temperature in shade on Friday and Saturday recorded was 114 degrees and minimum 83 degrees. As a result, Mr. Kharsetji Wadia, late Government Pleader of Ahmedabad, and Dr. Byramshaw, a Railway Medical Officer, died of heat apoplexy. Reports from Bengal say that the sources of drinking water are affected by the heat wave and cholera has appeared.
[Obviously the temperatures are in F]


India’s Pollution Problem May Be ‘Hiding’ Extreme Heat Spikes
By Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, Andrew King and Geert Jan van Oldenborgh on 30/05/2016 May 30, 2016

Although India is no stranger to extreme heat at this time of year, the smog has kept record-breaking high temperatures at bay – until now.

On May 19, India’s all-time temperature record was smashed in the northern city of Phalodi in the state of Rajasthan. Temperatures soared to 51℃ [123.8], beating the previous record set in 1956 by 0.4℃ [0.72F].


Much of India is in the grip of a massive drought. Water resources are scarce across the country. Dry conditions exacerbate extreme temperatures because the heat energy usually taken up by evaporation heats the air instead.


India’s drought was a possible factor in the earlier heatwaves in April over central and southern India. However, Rajasthan, where 51℃ was recorded, is always bone-dry in May. So the drought made no difference to the record temperature.


We have also experienced one of the strongest El Niño events on record. While the current event has recently ceased, its sting is certainly still being felt.

El Niño episodes are associated with higher-than-average global temperatures and have also been a factor in some of India’s past heatwaves. However, there is no direct connection to El Niño in Rajasthan, because its climate at this time of year is so dry anyway.

India also has an extreme air pollution problem. Caused largely by domestic fuel and wood burning, it kills up to 400,000 people every year. This pollution, made up of fine particles called aerosols, also has the effect of cooling the local climate by reflecting or absorbing sunlight before it reaches the ground, thus reducing the likelihood of the most extreme high temperatures.

So although India is no stranger to extreme heat at this time of year, the smog has kept record-breaking high temperatures at bay – until now. This is what makes the record in Phalodi remarkable.


A study published in 2013 analysed annual trends in extremes and found no significant change in the intensity of extreme Indian temperatures between 1951 and 2010. The high levels of local air pollution were probably behind the lack of change.

However, the study found a significant increase in the frequency of extreme temperatures and a remarkable trend in the duration of warm spells in India, as the map below shows. Warm spells, defined as at least six days of extreme temperatures relative to the location and time of year, increased by at least three days per decade over 1951-2010 – the largest trend recorded globally.


Most climate models do not do a great job of capturing observed trends in heatwaves over India, because large-scale models struggle to accurately represent the localised effect of aerosols.

It is therefore difficult to use them in great detail for future projections, particularly if pollution levels continue or even increase. However, if air pollution is reduced, temperatures will rise with a vengeance. We know this from experience over Europe, where summer temperature trends were virtually zero up to the 1980s and very strong afterwards, once air pollution was controlled.

Even though this is the hottest time of the year for the region, the recent weather should not be dismissed as regular. It is feasible that India’s pollution problem has been “hiding” extreme heat spikes.

While any clean-up activities will have many positive local health impacts, these are likely to cause more intense heatwaves in future. This will be amplified by background warming due to climate change, which is also likely to drive increases in the frequency of temperature extremes.

Last year India and neighbouring Pakistan suffered similarly atrocious conditions, killing thousands of people. This year’s death toll is already over 1,000, with numbers sure to rise further.


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