Heat Waves

Heat Waves

The Lancet countdown on health and climate has reported that India was particularly affected by the rising frequency of heatwave events and lost about 75 billion hours of work, a significant part of it in the agricultural sector.

Lancet Report: An estimated 153 billion hours of labour was lost during 2017 due to rising temperatures across the Globe.
• As per Lancet, 99% of losses from climate-related events in low-income countries were not insured.
• This creates an opportunity to insure Indian citizens against Heat wave catastrophe.

Impact of Heat Wave on India:
Labour lost: India is particularly affected by the rising frequency of heat wave events and lost about 75 billion hours of work, a significant part of it in the agricultural sector.

Health Issues: Rising temperatures will enable the dengue virus and malaria to spread farther and faster.
Rural Area unemployment: This has worrying implications for rural employment and the well-being of a large sections of the population that depends on farming.

Heat Waves
• Heat wave is considered if maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C or more for Plains, 37°C or more for coastal stations and at least 30°C or more for
Hilly regions.

Following criteria are used to declare heat wave:

• Based on Departure from Normal temperature:

  • Heat Wave: If 4-6°C departure from normal,
  • Severe Heat Wave: If more than 6°C departure from normal.

• Based on Actual Maximum Temperature (for plains only):

  • Heat Wave: When actual maximum temperature ≥ 45°C
  • Severe Heat Wave: When actual maximum temperature≥47°C

• To declare heat wave, the above criteria should be met at least in 2 stations in a Meteorological sub-division for at least two consecutive days and it will be declared on the second day.

Adaptation Measures assumed More Significance:
• Pre, during and post hazard measures should be adopted: There is a consensus that the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events has increased. India should prepare for catastrophes to provide relief and rehabilitation.
Perspective Plan: For identifying vulnerable regions and communities.
Cutting Greenhouse Gas emissions: It is vital that India gets more ambitious about cutting back on carbon emissions and reduce the share of coal in the energy mix through sustained support for renewable energy.

Steps that Should be Taken:
Ahemadabad Heat Action Plan 2018 (AHAP): It aims to provide a framework for the implementation, coordination, and evaluation of extreme heat response activities and reduce the negative health impacts of exposure to extreme heat. It includes:
• Prediction of weather at least seven days in advance.
• Alert people about the weather conditions.
• Preparing the health system to identify health symptoms of heat stress and providing treatments through urban centres.
• Additional water was supplied to people during extreme heat waves.

Global Best Practices:
England’s heat wave plan has short- and long-term plans for the health sector which include building zero-carbon hospitals, developing temperature-resistant drugs and more efficient public transport for staff and patients to lower heat generated by motor vehicle use and car parks.