The heat is increasing with each passing year. That’s a fact accepted by the world’s scientific community and felt by nearly everyone on Earth. While the world argues over greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, a study published in the journal ‘Science Advances’ presents an alarming picture for people of northern India, at least.
The study predicts that by 2100, the whole of North India will become completely uninhabitable because of unbearably hot temperature.
The study was conducted by researchers Elfatih Eltahir, a professor of climate and hydrology at the Massachusetts of Institute of Technology (MIT), Jeremy Pal of Loyola Marymount University in LA, and Eun Soon Im of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
They used the wet-bulb temperature measurement methodology to conclude that by the end of the 21st century, temperature in the northern region in India will cross the limit till which a human body can tolerate heat.
The typical human body skin temperature under normal circumstances is 35°C; the temperature inside the body is 37°C. A body cannot withstand an increase in this temperature for more than a few hours.
The wet-bulb temperature is a combined measure of normal temperature [dry-bulb temperature (T)] and humidity (Q), which is always less than or equal to ‘T’. If the wet-bulb temperature exceeds 35°C, the human body cannot automatically cool itself. In other words, if the body cannot naturally cool itself, the heat inside the body rises to a point where it can result in cardiac arrest or hemorrhage.
According to the researchers, the hot and humid temperatures in the Indo-Gangetic Plains would go above the limit for longer durations. This means more deaths from heat waves.
Currently, the maximum wet-bulb temperature has been 31°C anywhere on Earth.
The study is alarming because if the temperature rises to such an impossible degree, the people won’t be able to work outside. The Indo-Gangetic plain is one of the most populated regions on Earth.
The current population of this region is 558 million in India alone. The entire belt includes parts of Pakistan and whole of Bangladesh.
The region is rich in agriculture, which is also the principal livelihood of the people in the Indo-Gangetic plain. A rise in temperature will not only impact outdoor farming activities but also destroy vast swatches of crops. That would result in rise in poverty – which is already a bane for the region.