From: University of California - Irvine
Published June 8, 2017 09:06 AM

Small climb in mean temperatures linked to far higher chance of deadly heat waves

An increase in mean temperature of 0.5 degrees Celsius over half a century may not seem all that serious, but it’s enough to have more than doubled the probability of a heat wave killing in excess of 100 people in India, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions.

This could have grim implications for the future, because mean temperatures are projected to rise by 2.2 to 5.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century in the low- and mid-latitude countries of the Asian subcontinent, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

“The impact of global climate change is not a specter on the horizon. It’s real, and it’s being felt now all over the planet,” said Amir AghaKouchak, UCI associate professor of civil & environmental engineering and co-author of the study, published today in Science Advances. “It’s particularly alarming that the adverse effects are pummeling the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

Using data gathered by the India Meteorological Department from 1960 to 2009, the UCI-led team analyzed changes in summer temperatures; the frequency, severity and duration of heat waves; and heat-related deaths.

Read more at University of California - Irvine

Image: "In addition to India, populations in other developing countries in low- to mid-latitude regions are especially hard hit by these extreme heat events," says the study's lead author, Omid Mazdiyasni, here flanked by co-authors Amir AghaKouchak (left) and Steven J. Davis. (Credit: Steve Zylius / UCI)

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