Jun 6, 2015

The Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity

Chandrapur, Maharashtra1
Jharsuguda, Odisha1
Hyderabad, Telangana
Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh3
Khammam, Telangana1
New Delhi, Delhi1
Daltonganj, Jharkhand
Palamau, Madhya Pradesh
Nagpur, Maharashtra1
Robert Kopp, Jonathan Buzan, and Matthew Huber
New York Times
Indian heat wave. Image: David Jien, NYTimes
Indian heat wave. Image: David Jien, NYTimes

The most deadly weather-related disasters aren’t necessarily caused by floods, droughts or hurricanes. They can be caused by heat waves, like the sweltering blanket that’s taken over 2,500 lives in India in recent weeks. Temperatures broke 118 degrees in parts of the country. The death toll is still being tallied, and many heat-related deaths will be recognized only after the fact. Yet it’s already the deadliest heat wave to hit India since at least 1998 and, by some accounts, the fourth- or fifth-deadliest worldwide since 1900. These heat waves will only become more common as the planet continues to warm.