A recent study report published by the Mahamana Center of Excellence in Climate Change Research (MCECCR) at Benaras Hindu University has revealed that Heat Waves (HW) and Severe Heat Waves (SHW) will manifest impact on health, ecosystem, and economy. The study found a Spatio-temporal shift in the occurrence of HW with a significant increase trend in three HW-prone areas- Northwestern, Central, and South-central India. The highest being observed in West MP, while there is a significant decrease witnessed in Gangetic West Bengal.
Since the 20-century, an increasing trend of heat waves has been observed in India causing a high mortality rate. The study suggested that heat waves will pose a great threat to human life and its surroundings. Thus, it is important to recognize the heat waves as a potential health risk and there should be further study demand with robust preparedness and policy interventions.
The research conducted by a team led by professor R K Mall found that rising heat waves in North-western states have caused a severe impact on human health, agriculture, economy, and infrastructure. And all these climatic mechanism mishaps are happening due to changes in global mercury.
The HW has a direct impact on human health causing heat strokes, respiratory problems, heat cramps, and more. According to the research paper, India has become a hotspot of heatwaves and heat-related mortality has cumulatively increased over the years. From 1978-99 total death due to HW was over 5,330 while in 2003 it was 3,054 and in 2015, the country recorded 2,248 deaths.
Apart from health, the HW impacts agriculture in terms of a decrease in the yields of major crops. The extreme rise of heat waves in North India has pushed a risk factor in the agricultural sector and impacted the growth of rice-wheat crops. Furthermore, the report stated that rainfall anomalies may strengthen the impact and occurrence of drought more frequently.
The shortage of food crops will lead to a monetary crunch in people’s spending as a deficit of supply will shot up the inflation rate of the Consumer Price Index. The study also highlights the need for developing effective heat action plans in three heatwave hotspots regions to mitigate the probable future risks.