Hexbyte Glen Cove Deadly heat waves will be common in South Asia, even at 1.5 degrees of warming thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Deadly heat waves will be common in South Asia, even at 1.5 degrees of warming

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With 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the population of South Asia will experience more than double the exposure to unsafe labor temperatures (left) and will have almost three times the exposure to temperatures that cause lethal heat stress (right). Credit: Saeed et. al/ Geophysical Research Letters/AGU

Residents of South Asia already periodically experience heat waves at the current level of warming. But a new study projecting the amount of heat stress residents of the region will experience in the future finds with 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the population’s exposure to heat stress will nearly triple.

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will likely reduce that impact by half, but deadly heat stress will become commonplace across South Asia, according to the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences.

With almost one quarter of the world’s population living in South Asia, the new study underlines the urgency of addressing climate change.

“The future looks bad for South Asia, but the worst can be avoided by containing warming to as low as possible,” said Moetasim Ashfaq, a computational climate scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and corresponding author of the new study. “The need for adaptation over South Asia is today, not in the future. It’s not a choice anymore.”

Earth has warmed by 1 degree Celsius since the start of the Industrial Revolution, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. On the current climate trajectory, it may reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming in 2040. This deadline leaves little time for South Asian countries to adapt. “Only half a degree increase from today is going to cause a widespread increase in these events,” Ashfaq said.

A hot region getting hotter

People living in South Asia are especially vulnerable to deadly heat waves because the area already experiences very hot, humid summers. Much of the population live in densely populated cities without regular access to air conditioning, and about 60% perform agricultural work and can’t escape the heat by staying indoors.

In the new study, the researchers used climate simulations and projections of future population growth to estimate the number of people who will experience dangerous levels of heat stress in South Asia at warming levels of 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius. They estimated the wet bulb temperature residents will experience, which is similar to the heat index, as it takes into account humidity as well as temperature. A wet bulb temperature of 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered to be the point when labor becomes unsafe, and 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) is the limit to human survivability—when the body can no longer cool itself.

Their analysis suggests at 2 degrees of warming, the population’s exposure to unsafe labor temperatures will rise more than two-fold, and exposure to lethal temperatures rises 2.7 times, as compared to recent years.

Curbing warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will likely cut that exposure in half, but large numbers of people across South Asia will still experience extreme temperatures. An increase in heat events that create unsafe labor conditions are likely to occur in major crop producing regions in India, such as West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, and in Pakistan in Punjab and Sindh. Coastal regions and urban centers such as Karachi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Peshawar are also likely to be heavily affected, according to the study.

“Even at 1.5 degrees, South Asia will have serious consequences in terms of heat stress,” Ashfaq said. “That’s why there is a need to radically alter the current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions.”

The results differ from a similar study conducted in 2017, which predicted that heat waves of lethal temperatures will occur in South Asia toward the end of the 21st century. The researchers suspect the earlier study is too conservative, as deadly heat waves have already hit the region in the past. In 2015, large parts of Pakistan and India experienced the fifth deadliest heat wave in the recorded history, which caused about 3,500 heat-related deaths.

“A is very much needed to fight against heat stress and wave-related problems,” said T.V. Lakshmi Kumar, an atmospheric scientist at India’s SRM Institute of Science and Technology who was not involved in the work. “India has already committed to reduce emissions to combat issues.”

The study was supported by National Climate Computing Research Center, which is located within ORNL’s National Center for Computational Sciences and supported under a Strategic Partnership Project between Department of Energy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.



More information:
Fahad Saeed et al, Deadly heat stress to become commonplace across South Asia already at 1.5°C of global warming, Geophysical Research Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1029/2020GL091191

Citation:
Deadly heat waves will be common in South Asia, even at 1.5 degrees of warming (2021, March 24)
retrieved 25 March 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-deadly-common-south-asia-degrees.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Deadly winter storm pushes into eastern US thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Deadly winter storm pushes into eastern US

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A man shovels snow in New York on February 18, 2021

A deadly winter weather system that brought record-busting cold to the southern and central United States, knocking out power for millions in oil-rich Texas, was blanketing the East Coast in snow Thursday, disrupting coronavirus vaccinations.

The historic frigid blast has over the past week seen Arctic cold envelope a US heartland unfamiliar with such extremes, leaving dozens of dead in its wake and several million Texans told to boil water before consuming it.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said a “major” winter storm would impact an area stretching from Virginia up to the Northeast, bringing icy buildups and “treacherous” travel conditions.

Snow fell steadily across New York City throughout the morning, forcing the cancelation of about 200 flights and delaying the opening of two COVID-19 vaccination sites after the storm disrupted dosage delivery.

By 1:00 pm (1800 GMT), meteorologists had recorded more than three inches (seven centimeters) of snow in Central Park.

The Big Apple has already been blanketed by the white stuff twice this winter during two separate storms.

“The occasional snowstorm is always good but as we’re getting closer to March it gets a little tiring. I’m ready for it to start being warm again,” said 18-year-old student Kara Dickson.

A resident in Waco, Texas clears snow as the oil-rich state struggles to cope with a historic cold snap

A weather warning was in effect in New Jersey, where Governor Phil Murphy announced the temporary closure of several vaccination sites.

“This may result in many appointments needing to be rescheduled,” he said.

Across Texas, which has been hardest hit by the cold snap, utility companies were gradually restoring power though more than 400,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity, according to PowerOutage.us.

‘Failed state’

Texas power companies had to implement rolling blackouts to avoid grids being overloaded as residents cranked up the heat. The surge in demand came just as generating capacity drooped thanks to power stations and wind turbines freezing.

David Hernandez, 38, spent the night at a Houston church with other people who had fled their homes.

“My car got stranded and I was trying to sleep in the car but it was just too cold,” Hernandez said.

Men are seen outside of the Lincoln Memorial under a blanket of light snow in Washington, DC on February 18, 2021

“Liquids in my car were actually turning to ice so it was like sleeping in an ice box. I had to come here,” he said.

Texas authorities opened about 300 emergency “warming centers” across the state.

Compounding the misery, thousands of Houston residents were also suffering a loss of water pressure.

Nearly seven million Texans were being advised to boil their water before drinking it or using it for cooking, said Toby Baker, who heads the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, adding that nearly 264,000 people were impacted by non-operational water systems.

Texas’s woes have sparked outrage in the Lone Star State, the only one of the US’s 48 continental states to have its own independent power grid.

Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic presidential candidate from Texas, said it was at risk of becoming “a failed state.”

Anger soared Thursday after it was revealed Texas Senator Ted Cruz had flown to the Mexican holiday resort of Cancun during the crisis.

A woman poses in New York’s Times Square during a winter storm on February 18, 2021

As political rivals called for his resignation, Cruz justified the flight by saying his one-night stay was to drop his children off before he flew home.

Even though the Arctic air mass was beginning to loosen its grip in Texas and elsewhere in the south, the NWS said frigid temperatures would continue.

President Joe Biden ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma after officials there declared an emergency.

Biden was forced to postpone until Friday a visit to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing site in Kalamazoo, Michigan while federal government offices in Washington were closed Thursday.

More than 30 storm-related deaths have been reported by US media since the cold weather arrived last week, many in traffic accidents.

Animal deaths

Houston police said a woman and a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after sitting in a car in a garage with the engine running to keep warm.

More than 500,000 Texas homes and businesses remained without electricity Thursday morning

And emergency medical authorities around Texas said dozens of others have been treated for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, while 77 were treated for hypothermia in northern Texas on Tuesday.

A dozen animals—including one 58-year-old female chimpanzee—died during the freeze at rescue sanctuary Primarily Primates near San Antonio, the organization said on its website.

The winter storm has spawned at least four tornadoes, according to Atlanta-based weather.com, including one in North Carolina on Monday that killed at least three people and injured 10.

Across the southern border, Mexican officials said six people died after temperatures plunged.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Deadly winter storm blankets eastern US in snow (2021, February 18)
retrieved 19 February 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-deadly-winter-storm-eastern.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Deadly snowstorms cause chaos across Spain thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Deadly snowstorms cause chaos across Spain

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Firefighters helped by the army, freed hundreds of motorists overnight

Snowstorms across much of Spain left three people dead and caused chaos across much of the country, trapping motorists and closing the capital’s air and rail links, with more falls to come Saturday.

On Friday, Madrid experienced its heaviest snowfalls since 1971 after what the AEMET weather agency described as “exceptional and most likely historic” conditions caused by Storm Filomena.

It warned that another 20 centimetres (nearly eight inches) was expected to fall Saturday in Madrid and central Spain’s lower plains, with up to 50 centimetres at higher altitudes.

“Even if, despite the extremely difficult weather conditions, the number of incidents is relatively limited, we have three deaths to mourn,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told a news conference.

Apart from Madrid, the exceptional conditions put another four regions in the centre of the country on red alert Saturday: Aragon, Valencia, Castilla La Mancha and Catalonia.

On Twitter, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called on people to stay indoors and follow the instructions of the emergency services. He paid tribute to the work of the rescue agencies who had helped hundreds of people trapped in the show overnight.

Madrid’s Barajas airport was shut down late Friday, transport officials said the snowfall disrupted traffic on nearly 400 roads, and the Renfe rail network said all trains to and from Madrid had been cancelled.

Madrid’s emergencies agency said they had worked all night to help trapped motorists, freeing a thousand vehicles. They asked others still stuck to be patient.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez urged people to stay at home where possible

‘Extremely serious’

Motorist Patricia Manzanares told national television how she had been stranded without food for 15 hours on the M-40 motorway in the Madrid region.

“I’ve been here since 7 o’clock last night, there are lot of us in this situation. There are 60 centimetres of snow and we are soon going to run out of petrol” and thus lose their cars’ heating, she said.

Madrid authorities have closed the parks, as well as suspending bus services and rubbish collections in the city after a night in which the snow continued to fall steadily.

Mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida described the situation as “extremely serious” in a tweet Saturday.

“We are working to clear access to hospitals as quickly as possible,” he told the La Sexta television channel Saturday. “But frankly that is complicated, it has been snowing so much.” The army had been called in on Friday to help the authorities, he added.

In Madrid itself, the army was helping to clear roads using snow ploughs and has also helped rescue some motorists.

At least two of the city’s metro lines had their services disrupted by the conditions.

Schools and universities in and around Madrid will be closed Monday and Tuesday, said the president of the region Isabel Diaz Ayuso.

Skiers—and even a man on a sled drawn by five dogs—could not resist the wintry conditions in the capital venturing out on to the normally busy Puerta del Sol.

Forecasters say the heavy snow will continue until Sunday

Heavy-lorry ban

In all, 36 out of Spain’s 50 provinces declared snow alerts.

Catalonia in the southeast and Castilla La Mancha have both banned heavy goods vehicles from driving in the wintry conditions.

The historic city of Toledo asked the army for help clearing the streets, as did Albacete in the southeast, public television reported.

The exceptional conditions also hit sports fixtures, forcing the postponement of Atletico Madrid’s match against Bilbao, and the cancellation of the Spain-Croatia basketball match, which had been due to go ahead in Madrid on Saturday.

Forecasters said the heavy snow would continue until Sunday, before Storm Filomena begins moving northeast, although temperatures would remain exceptionally low.

Before the snowfall began Thursday morning, temperatures had already plummeted to an unofficial record low of -34.1 degrees Celsius (-29.38 Fahrenheit) at a ski station in the central Pyrenees on Wednesday.

Filomena has also brought intense rain and high winds to the Canary Islands as well as Spain’s southern coast.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Deadly snowstorms cause chaos across Spain (2021, January 9)
retrieved 10 January 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-01-snowstorm-chaos-spain.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.