The Heat Waves Crisis in Asia: Rising Temperatures and Fatalities!

May 3, 2023 by No Comments

Heat waves are frequent in most of the world and can have detrimental effects on both natural and human systems. A heat wave is an extended period of exceptionally hot weather that can persist for many days or even weeks.

This situation is brought on by a number of different things, including high atmospheric pressure, drought conditions, and global warming. Likewise, most of the world experiences regular heat waves, which can harm both natural and human systems. Heat waves may have various negative effects on people’s health. Especially for vulnerable groups including elderly people, small children, and individuals with underlying medical issues.

Similarly, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are just a few of the symptoms that can result from prolonged exposure to extreme heat. In certain situations, these symptoms can even be life-threatening. Due to the ongoing physiological stress that heat waves place on the human body, they can also cause additional health issues such as diabetes, kidney illness, and respiratory and cardiovascular illness.

This year heat waves have particularly engulfed the Asian parts especially. Countries like India, China, Laos, and Thailand have recently recorded the worst April heat wave in their history. Due to these devastating heat waves, numerous schools have been closed and deaths have also been recorded in India.

Similarly, according to climatologist and weather historian Maximiliano Herrera, China has also seen record-breaking temperatures in a number of locations. Including Chengdu, Zhejiang, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and other places in the Yangtze River Delta region. This makes April the worst in Asian history for heatwaves. Numerous regions in China have reportedly experienced record-breaking high temperatures for the month of April, according to local media.

Worst Heat Waves Across Asia, April 2023

There are presently fatalities and school closings in India due to a severe heat wave. Similarly, China is experiencing record-breaking temperatures. Local media sources claim that April temperatures in various parts of China, including Chengdu, Zhejiang, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and other sections of the Yangtze River delta, had reached record highs. Southeast Asia has also had exceptionally high temperatures recently, with Vientiane registering 41.4C, the capital’s warmest day ever, and Luang Prabang in Laos reaching a high of 42.7C, the highest temperature in its history.

A Royal Bengal Tiger in the water due to extreme heat waves in Bangladesh
A Royal Bengal Tiger in the water due to extreme heat waves in Bangladesh (The Guardian)

Likewise, the heat wave has also hit Bangladesh. The capital city Dhaka had its warmest day in 58 years with temperatures exceeding 40C, resulting in melted road surfaces.

In recent years, India has proven particularly susceptible to heat waves, and experts worry that this year may be much worse. States like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal have received a warning of a severe heatwave. These states all have a high percentage of rural workers and laborers. These workers are compelled to work outside despite the soaring temperatures and humidity. While Delhi, the nation’s capital, registered 40.4C recently.

In Thailand, where the health authorities issued a warning about the risk of heat stroke, particularly for persons who exercise outside or spend extended periods of time working outside, such as farmers and construction workers, the extremely hot weather has also triggered health advisories there.

Japanese sheltering themselves with umbrella from heat waves
Japanese sheltering themselves with umbrella from heat waves (BBC)

Other regions of Asia like Thailand, Japan, and the central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have been notably impacted by the heatwaves. There are worries that Thailand’s high temperatures could persist through the typical summer season. This might lead to a drought and possible crop failure.

Is the Heat Waves in Asia Alarming?

Our human bodies can become used to heat and improve their ability to withstand it over time. In order to lower our core temperature, more blood flows to the skin. We sweat more but lose less electrolytes which causes our metabolic and heart rates to slow down. This process is called acclimatization where an individual has a consistent exposure to heat over several weeks.

However, as a result of climate change, summers are getting hotter and longer. This makes it more difficult for humans to adapt to the heat. Furthermore, record-breaking heat waves have recently hit various parts of Asia, including China, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand, resulting in fatalities and other health problems.

Early heat waves take a particularly dangerous toll because people are not acclimatized to the higher temperatures. Acclimatization may possibly be the cause of the regional disparity in heat-related fatalities. Heat-related fatalities are more common in northern U.S. cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago than in hotter southern locales like Atlanta or Houston.

Overall being unprepared for heat can be worse than the heat itself. Acclimatization provides a hint as to why it is so deadly. But people and society can do much more to assist the most prone communities in adjusting and adapting.

Why is it Becoming Harder For us to Adjust?

It’s getting difficult to forecast when heat will become unbearable as climate change advances. One of the causes of this is that evenings are growing hotter, which disturbs sleep and puts more stress on the body. Heat disease may be avoided by being able to cool off at night, but hot evenings are making people sick.

The distinction between humid and dry heat is another problem. Humidity can make it feel hotter. This means that areas that are accustomed to dealing with dry heat may be poorly adapted to other conditions.

Similarly, higher surface temperatures are causing more water to evaporate, while warmer air is able to store more moisture. Overall temperatures rise as a result, which may bring on more intense precipitation episodes.

Overall, climate change is causing more weather whiplash which has greatly influenced fluctuating earth temperature. This may cause difficulty for people to adjust and prepare themselves for extra,e temperatures. Especially if they are not used to experiencing such temperatures at particular times of the year. All things considered, climate change is upsetting our expectations and making it more difficult for us to cope with the heat in the ways that we have relied on in the past.

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