'Arctic warming causing heatwaves in India', says study

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Heat wave events have been gradually increasing in the country in the last three decades with 660 such events causing 12,273 fatalities, said a research paper.

“The heat wave events have shown a rising trend, whereas no significant rising or declining trend was observed in the heat wave. In fatality density, top five states are Chandigarh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha. Regionally, annual fatality rate has varied from 0.66 (peninsula region) to 0.02 (hilly region),” said the paper published in Current Science.

The research used Disastrous Weather Events reports’ statistics for the period 1978-2014. The analysis shows that only five states — Andhra Pradesh (42 per cent), Rajasthan (17 per cent), Odisha (10 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (7 per cent) and Bihar (7 per cent) have accounted more than 80 per cent of the heat wave fatalities, although nine states namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Sikkim, Mizoram, Uttarakhand and Goa have never reported heat wave events.

Each event has resulted in about 104 fatalities in Andhra Prades. Majority of events have been witnessed in April, May and June months. The maximum count of events has been observed in Maharashtra state followed by Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

Region wise analysis shows that the maximum count of heat wave events has been detected in northwest (30 per cent) followed by central northeast (28 per cent) and central west (19 per cent) regions, whereas least over hilly (1 per cent).

Conversely, peninsula has experienced roughly 42 per cent of the total fatalities followed by central northeast (27 per cent) and northwest (21 per cent) regions, while hilly region accounts almost negligible fatalities followed by northeast (4 per cent) and central west (6 per cent). Remarkably, the peninsula observed the highest fatalities per event (77 fatalities).

Andhra Pradesh has the maximum fatality rate per million population per year followed by Rajasthan, Odisha, Chandigarh and Punjab state.  Fatality rate varies from 0.66 (peninsula) to 0.02 (hilly region) per year.