Climate change probably made the brutal, weeks-long heatwave blanketing northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely, the UK Met Office said Wednesday. The attribution study found — without climate change — an event like the region’s 2010 heatwave would occur once in 312 years. With climate change, mainly caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, however, such an event could be expected to occur every 3.1 years.
The widespread disruption and harm, especially for outdoor workers, is exacerbated by rolling blackouts, especially at night, when high heat and humidity prevent the body from cooling. Meanwhile, in northeastern India, torrential rains and devastating flooding have killed at least 11 people, displaced 400,000 people, and swept at least one (empty) train off its tracks.
“People don’t have drinking water, there’s limited food in stock, all forms of communications have been cut off and we don’t have any means of transportation as all the roads have been washed away by floods and landslides,” 10-year-old climate activist Licypriya Kangujam, who is from the region, told CBS. “This is a real climate emergency.” (Heat: Washington Post $, CNBC, The Guardian, Bloomberg $, CNN; Rain and flooding: CBS; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves, Extreme precipitation increase)