Study warns of serious peril from heat by 2100
Climate change could make much of South Asia — home to a fifth of the world’s population — too hot for human survival by the end of this century, scientists warned Wednesday.
If climate change continues at its current pace, deadly heat waves beginning in the next few decades will strike parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to a study based on computer simulations by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Key agricultural areas in the Indus and Ganges river basins will be hit particularly hard, reducing crop yields and increasing hunger in some of the world’s most densely populated regions, researchers said.
“Climate change is not an abstract concept, it is impacting huge numbers of vulnerable people,” MIT professor Elfatih Eltahir, the study’s co-author, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Currently, about 2 percent of India’s population is sometimes exposed to extreme combinations of heat and humidity; by 2100, that will increase to about 70 percent if nothing is done to mitigate climate change, the study said.
Heat waves across South Asia in summer 2015 killed an estimated 3,500 people. Similar events will become more frequent and intense as the years go by, researchers said.