El Nino Predicted This Year: Will India Witness Deadly Heat Waves?

With already soaring mercury in the country, it might not be good news for India as many parts of the world including it prepare for El Nino, a climate pattern predicted this year and which is associated with severe heat waves and droughts.

El Nino is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean. El Nino events usually occur irregularly at two-to-seven-year intervals. As per reports, global temperatures increase by about 0.2C during an El Nino episode. During El Nino, winds blowing west along the equator slow down, and warm water is pushed east, creating warmer surface ocean temperatures.

Last month, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned of a likely spike in temperatures globally this year, due to the warming El Nino event. It will mean extreme weather around the globe and making it “very likely” the world will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. The hottest year in recorded history, 2016, was driven by a major El Nino. As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), there is a 70 per cent chance of India seeing the effects of El Nino.

The impact of El Nino may be felt during the second half of the monsoon season. The latest climate models also suggest the phenomenon could develop as early as May 2023. This can possibly weaken the southwest monsoon season, which brings around 70 per cent of the total rainfall India receives every year.

Heatwaves in India are already increasing in frequency, intensity and lethality and are becoming an increasing burden on the public health system. According to a study led by Indian-origin researchers at the University of Cambridge about 90 per cent of India and almost all of Delhi is in the danger zone from heat wave impact.

As per reports, the Tripura government has declared the heat wave a state disaster. Many schools and over 9,900 Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Anganwadi centres in the state have been closed down till April 23.

How do heat waves affect our bodies?

As per an international media outlet, heatwaves have killed more than 22,000 people in India between 1992 and 2015. As per experts, the number would be much greater than this as there might be a gap due to unrecorded death data. Heat can kill human beings. It can have serious effects on our bodies. The following are some symptoms of a heat stroke-

High body temperature
Confusion, delirium, irritation and sometimes even coma
Throbbing headache
Shallow breathing
Increased heart rate.

(With inputs from IANS )

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