Saturday, July 20, 2019

Asia is Heating Up and the South May Soon be Uninhabitable

Asia is one of the world's hottest continents and it is also the most populated continent in the world with 60 percent of the total population of the Earth. Like many other places around the world many of the 50 countries in Asia are suffering from heatwaves in 2019. In the period between April and June of this year India was hit with protracted heatwaves as was neighboring Pakistan and a number of other Asian countries including Vietnam, Kuwait, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

Vietnam was hit with a heatwave in April that included setting a record for the hottest day ever in the country. The Vietnam national weather service reported that Ha Tinh, a town about 320km south of Hanoi, recorded a high temperature of 43.4°C. This new national heat record breaks the record that was set just four years ago. What makes this particularly anomalous is the fact that the hottest months in Vietnam are usually in June and July.

By far the hottest place in Asia is Kuwait which recorded a temperature of 52.2°C in June. This temperature reading occurred in the region of Matraba in North Kuwait on June 9th. A recent study confirmed that Kuwait earns the unwanted distinction of Asia's hottest ever temperature with readings of 53.9°C. Pakistan came in second with a reading of 53.7°C in 2017.

More frequent and more intense heatwaves are part of a troubling global trend and countries in Asia are expected to be among the most adversely impacted.

According to research from MIT, in the worst case scenario temperature increases will soon breech the limits of survivability or come very close to it in most of South Asia. India's Chota Nagpur Plateau, in the northeast of the country, and Bangladesh are expected to be the worst hit. The Ganges River valley, India's northeast and eastern coast, northern Sri Lanka, and the Indus Valley of Pakistan may come close to surpassing these thresholds.

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