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Heat waves in South Asia raise ground temperature to 62°C

European satellites record a brutal rise in thermometers in India and Pakistan, with maximums on May 1 of 47.1° degrees Celsius and 49.5° degrees Celsius, respectively.

An image of the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission represents, in different colors, the despair of populations in South Asia. On May 1, when it was recorded, the land surface temperature (LST) in the area peaked at 62 degrees Celsius. It is worth remembering that the heat of the ground we walk on is not the same as that of the atmosphere: on the same day, the air temperature reached maximum values ​​of 49.5°C in Nawabshah, Pakistan, and 47.1°C in Bikaner, India. The European mission Copernicus Sentinel-3 is composed of two twin satellites (Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B), both equipped with instruments whose main objective is to provide the temperature of the sea and land surface.

The region, one of the most densely populated on the planet, has been suffering from a strong heatwave for several consecutive days. This extreme weather event is favoring the outbreak of fires and causing spikes in electricity consumption (and consequent voltage drops and rationing), changes in school calendars, and interruptions in industrial activity. The risks to human health have led to hospitals reserving wards for cases of heat stroke or heat-associated illnesses. “We are living in hell”, told the Guardian an inhabitant of Turbat, Pakistan, where the weak supply of electricity does not allow to keep fans and air conditioning systems in operation.

India faces the worst electricity failure in six decades. Power outages lasting more than eight hours were imposed in states such as Jharkhand, Haryana, Bihar, Punjab, and Maharashtra as domestic coal supplies fell to critical levels and the price of imported products soared. Without the main source for the production of electricity for a population of 1.4 billion people, the authorities are scrambling to find solutions. Indian railways, for example, canceled more than 600 passenger and parcel train journeys to give priority to coal.

The heatwave has already had a terrible impact on the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and cereals. In India, wheat harvests have dropped by up to 50% in some of the areas most affected by extreme temperatures, says the Guardian, aggravating fears of a situation of global food insecurity. This is because, with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia – two major cereal producers and, therefore, considered “the silo of the world” -, the price and availability of these foods were affected.

Source: with agencies

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