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WET-BULB HEAT: A GROWING CLIMATE CRISIS



  Jun 04, 2024

WET-BULB HEAT: A GROWING CLIMATE CRISIS



1. What is wet-bulb heat?
Wet-bulb heat is a measure of both temperature and humidity. It indicates the point at which the human body can no longer cool itself through sweating, making it extremely dangerous.

2. Why is wet-bulb heat a concern for India?
With rising temperatures and increasing humidity due to climate change, India faces a growing threat from wet-bulb heat. Extreme conditions can lead to heat-related illnesses and fatalities.

3. What recent temperature records have been set in India?
On Wednesday, a weather station in Delhi reported a maximum temperature of 52.9° Celsius, the highest ever recorded in India. This extreme heat is alarming and indicative of the broader climate crisis.

4. How has the climate changed in recent years?
An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) of IMD data shows that India’s hot season has become increasingly humid. This combination of high heat and humidity exacerbates the risk of wet-bulb conditions.

5. What are the implications of wet-bulb heat for public health?
Wet-bulb conditions can overwhelm the body’s ability to cool itself, leading to severe health risks such as heatstroke and dehydration. Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and those without access to cooling, are particularly at risk.

6. What actions are being taken to address this issue?
Authorities are monitoring temperature readings closely, and there are calls for improved public awareness and infrastructure to mitigate the effects of extreme heat. Measures such as increased access to cooling centers and better urban planning are essential.

7. What can individuals do to protect themselves during extreme heat?
Staying hydrated, avoiding outdoor activities during peak heat, and using cooling methods like fans and air conditioning can help individuals cope with extreme temperatures.



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