Heatwaves claimed over 17,000 deaths in India since 1971: Study

Heatwaves claimed over 17,000 deaths in India since 1971: Study

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha recorded the maximum number of deaths caused by the heatwave, the study found.

Heatwaves have claimed more than 17,000 lives in the country since 1971, a study by a team of top meteorologists has claimed. The paper, which analysed heat wave incidents in the country from 1971-2019, stated 706 such incidents took place in this period. According to the study, extreme weather events (EWE) led to the deaths of 141,308 people since 1971. Of these, 17,362 people were killed due to the heatwave which is classified as a EWE, the study said. This is 12% of the total deaths due to EWEs in the last 50 years.

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha recorded the maximum number of deaths caused by the heatwave, the study found.

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The research paper was authored by M Rajeevan, a secretary in the Union ministry of earth sciences, along with scientists Kamaljit Ray, SS Ray, RK Giri and AP Dimri. Kamaljit Ray is the lead author of the paper, which was published earlier this year.

The study assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of heat waves that swept parts of the northern hemisphere, including the United States and Canada. In India, the northern plains, saw temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius. An intense heatwave was felt in the hills as well.

There are various parameters to declare a heatwave. In the plains and hilly regions, a heatwave is declared when the actual temperature of a weather station is 40 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius respectively. In coastal areas, the maximum temperature at a station should be 40 degrees Celsius for authorities to announce a heatwave while the corresponding limit for other stations is 45 degrees Celsius. A heatwave is also declared when the actual maximum temperature exceeds the normal temperature, which should be more than 40 degrees Celsius.

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