With a warming of 1.5°C, the population of South Asia will be twice as likely to be exposed to unsafe temperatures and three times as likely to cause deadly heat stress.
South Asians already experience heatwaves from time to time at current levels of warming. But a new study predicting the amount of heat stress that residents of the region will experience in the future raises concerns. It shows that with a 2°C warming, the population’s exposure to heat stress will nearly triple.
That said, limiting warming to 1.5°C is likely to halve this impact. And yet, deadly heat stress will become commonplace in South Asia. This conclusion was reached by scientists of the American Geophysical Union, who published the results of the study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Nearly a quarter of the world’s population lives in South Asia, according to the data. In this regard, the authors of the new work emphasize the urgency of solving the problem of climate change.
“The future of South Asia looks grim, but the worst can be avoided by keeping global warming to a minimum,” said Moetasim Ashfaq, climate scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and author of the new study. It’s not a choice anymore.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Earth has warmed by 1°C since the start of the industrial revolution. At the current climatic trajectory, it could reach 1.5°C by 2040. South Asian countries have little time to adapt, scientists explain. “An increase of only half a degree will lead to irreversible consequences,” they conclude.