April 2, 2023

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Climate change triggers extreme heat in India already affecting global wheat supply | Climate and environment

May be A severe heat wave similar to the one experienced by residents of India and Pakistan a few weeks ago Sounds attractive and distant, but nothing from reality. As its effects threaten global distribution of wheat, Ukraine is already being tested by the invaders. A study of 29 international experts concluded that the March and April tides on the subcontinent were “warmer and more likely.” To the process of climate change experienced by the planet due to human activity. Greenhouse gases emitted by the world economy, combined with more fossil fuels, accumulate in the atmosphere, creating climate change, which often and intensifies these extreme weather events.

The study, which was submitted this Monday, recalls that at least 90 deaths were caused by the heat wave in India and Pakistan. Outside these two countries, the effects will be felt because it threatens to exacerbate the global crisis in wheat supply caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain producers, until the conflict erupts. Aditi Kapoor, one of the experts who participated in the study, explains that in the most complex aspects of this wave, it is the early moment when winter grains are in full growth, March and April. The heat also added as it rained less than normal at the time. Preliminary studies indicate that wheat yields in India have fallen by 20% this year due to the heat, says Kapoor. The expert, who works at the Red Cross Climate Change Research Center, describes it as “having an impact on importing countries”.

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India – the world’s second-largest wheat producer, has faced a stalemate in exports from Ukraine due to the war, although most of its crops are for domestic consumption – and have volunteered to increase their sales overseas. But India’s plans were in vain: on May 13, the government, concerned with national distribution, banned all wheat exports. “This is already putting a lot of pressure on global food prices and food security,” recalls an international statement issued on Monday. India had calculated before the heat wave that it would be able to export up to ten million tonnes of wheat to cover the shortfall caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the study notes.

In addition, the shortage of coal in India, Connected to the heat wave, The power outage, which limited access to air conditioning and fans, exacerbated the health risks. This forced “millions of people” to limit activity until the early hours of the morning and night to avoid the heat.

Part of the researchers who conducted this study World weather attribute (WWA), a group of scientists trying to establish links between climate change and specific weather events. These kinds of events like heat waves and floods have always happened on the planet. But scientists have been warning for years that climate change will act as a fuel and make them more aggressive and change frequently.

A worker who boarded a train with bundles of wheat at a railway station in Kanna, India, drank water on Thursday. Sajad Hussain (AFP)

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That is the general principle. The great leap in climate science in recent years is precisely the cause of specific events leading to global warming, thanks to advances in data computation and an increase in the number of extreme cases. In the absence of climate change, the probabilities of a particular episode occurring are calculated. In the case of the tide in Pakistan and India, global warming is likely to happen 30 times more than at that time of year. This means that, according to the WWA, such an event would “have been extraordinarily rare without the effects of man – induced climate change.”

In addition, experts say, “a similar phenomenon would have been approximately one degree Celsius cold in the pre-industrial climate”, before the planet began to warm up by greenhouse gases emitted by the Earth. Achutha Rao, another author of the study on human function, Krishna, recalled at a telematics press conference. Friedrich Otto, one of the co-ordinators of Imperial College London and WWA, explains that a degree in the context of Pakistan and India makes a “huge difference” to the well-being of “human and environmental organizations”.

March has been the hottest in India since records began 122 years ago, reminiscent of the WWA, and this country and Pakistan have seen record-breaking temperatures. Moreover, March was also very dry, 62% lower than normal in Pakistan and 71% lower than normal in India. All of this has had an impact on reducing the productivity of wheat, which now threatens to raise food prices even further, a major blow to countries with limited economic resources competing for grain in international markets.

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