While on the other side of the globe, western Canada was hit by a historic heatwave that reached 49.6 degrees – the source of fires that notably ravaged the village of Lytton, in British Columbia – tens of millions of Indians are suffocating too, Friday, July 2, under scorching temperatures. The capital, New Delhi, has recorded its highest temperatures since 2012.
Since 2010, the intense heat waves in the second most populous country in the world have killed more than 6,500 people; scientists fear this phenomenon will intensify due to climate change.
Daytime temperatures exceeded 40 degrees for the fourth day in a row on Friday in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana and New Delhi. Stifling heat also reigned in many parts of the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, located in northern India.
Thursday in New Delhi, the temperature reached 43.1 degrees, the hottest day for July since 2012. That year, the capital had sweated under 43.5 degrees. On Friday, the thermometer recorded 41 degrees in this megalopolis of 20 million inhabitants.
On average, temperatures are seven degrees above normal for this time of year and weather services have called the situation “Severe extreme heat”.
According to forecasting services, the temperature is expected to continue to exceed 40 degrees next week due to the late onset of the monsoon, which will be accompanied by a hot wind (the loo) from the desert state of Rajasthan and from Pakistan.
Air conditioners increase energy consumption
This intense heat wave has caused an increase in electricity consumption, with air conditioners and fans running at full speed among more and more residents who own them.
According to forecasters, the rainy season will not begin before July 7 in Delhi, the latest date recorded since 2006. In 2015, a heat wave killed more than 2,000 people, a record.
Currently, only 5% of homes are equipped with air conditioners, compared to 90% in the United States and 60% in China. But the market is expected to explode in the coming years, pushing up energy consumption in this country which is already the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
The refrigerant gases contained in air conditioners and the increased energy consumption they cause aggravate climate change. The country of 1.3 billion people also suffers from severe water shortages, with tens of millions of people without running water.
At the same time, on the other side of the globe, western Canada is also hit by a historic heatwave. The village of Lytton, British Columbia, where the temperature reached 49.6 degrees, was destroyed by fire.