India To Suffer Extreme Heat Wave & Wet Bulb Temperature

Experts are predicting a potentially dangerous summer due to extreme heat. In February of this year, India experienced its hottest month since 1877. The World Bank warned in November 2022 that India could be among the first countries where wet-bulb temperatures rise above the survivability limit of 35°C. In addition, Peter Dynes, the chief strategy officer at Mirrors for Earth’s Energy Rebalancing (MEER), warned via Twitter last month that India is at a “serious risk of wet-bulb” if global temperatures continue to increase. To measure the Wet Bulb Temperature (WBT), a thermometer is wrapped in a damp cloth and placed in an area with air movement. The moisture from the cloth evaporates and cools the thermometer, providing a temperature reading representing the WBT. If the WBT is low, it indicates that the air can absorb more moisture from the skin, facilitating the body’s cooling process. However, if the WBT reaches or exceeds 35°C (95°F), the body’s natural cooling mechanisms can fail, resulting in heat exhaustion or, in severe cases, a potentially fatal heat stroke.

India, being a tropical country, is highly susceptible to heat stress, with increasing temperatures posing significant threats to public health, agriculture, and the economy. In 2019, India was hit by an unprecedented heatwave that affected the northern and central regions of the country, causing heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other related health issues as temperatures soared up to 48°C (118°F) in some areas.

The Indian Meteorological Department issued a warning for heatwaves in several regions of the country in May 2021, with some areas registering wet bulb temperature levels exceeding 30°C (86°F). Prolonged exposure to such extreme weather conditions can lead to heatstroke, a severe medical condition that requires immediate medical attention.

In 2022, India experienced one of its hottest summers with a staggering 203 heatwave days, the highest in recent times. These recurrent heatwaves can result in fatalities and crop failures, inflicting significant damage on the agriculture sector. Moreover, the economic repercussions can be severe, with excessive heat triggering power cuts, decreased efficiency, and elevated energy expenses.

Heat stress is a significant concern, especially for vulnerable populations lacking access to cooling methods. Addressing the risk of heat stress requires measures that target both temperature and humidity. Providing shade, increasing access to cool water, improving ventilation, and reducing heat generation from human activities are some ways to address the issue.

Awareness campaigns are necessary to reduce heat stress-related fatalities. Public health campaigns can encourage people to stay hydrated, avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day, and seek medical attention if they experience symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, or nausea.

In 2022, India experienced one of the hottest summers, with 203 heatwave days, the most in recent years. Frequent heatwaves can cause deaths and crop failure, leading to significant damage to the agriculture industry. Excessive heat can also result in power outages, reduced productivity, and higher energy costs, with severe impacts on the economy. This is the reason people are worrying about sudden changes in temperature.