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india heat wave in rajasthan

India Heat Wave: A mirage appears and vehicles ply on a road during a hot summer day as temperature reached 44 degrees Celsius, in Beawar, Rajasthan. The region has witnessed severe heatwave conditions in its various parts with mercury touching 50 degrees Celsius in Churu district. | Sumit Saraswat

May 16, 2022

How Are the Heat Waves in India and Pakistan Affecting the Region’s People and Wildlife?

Ask Students: Why is the India heat wave so dangerous this year? The region’s weather is often hot in May, so why does the current heat wave stand out?

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Summary

India, Pakistan and other regions of South Asia are currently experiencing record-breaking heat waves. The number of heat-wave days in India, for example, has increased from 413 in the decade of the 1980s to 600 in the 2010s. The India heat wave has been so extreme that in some cases birds have started falling from the sky. Watch and listen to the reports below from PBS and NPR with climate experts who work in the region, then answer the discussion questions.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions: India Heat Wave

  1. Where are the heat waves taking place? What is the hottest month in the region?
  2. The region’s weather is often hot in May, so why does the current heat wave stand out?
  3. Where does 70 percent of India’s energy come from? How might this fuel the rising heat waves? What can governments do to lower dependency on energy sources that cause pollution?
  4. What kinds of issues are hindering these populations from finding places to cool down? According to Somini Sengupta, what could the governments do to help alleviate these problems?
  5. What are some of the reasons that extraordinary heat waves are particularly dangerous for people in India and Pakistan?
  6. According to one of the climate experts, what are some of the long-term consequences of prolonged extreme heat exposure? How could this pose even more issues down the line for people who work outdoors?
  7. What happened to farmers’ crops this year, especially wheat? With the war in Ukraine also contributing to global food shortages, what do you think this will do to global food supply chains?
  8. Media Literacy: Who else do you think should have been interviewed in this piece? Why?

Activity 1: Analyzing Government Solutions

Some governments at the local level have “Beat the Heat” programs like this one in New York City. Take a moment to Google heat shelters near you. What is your closest location? Do you think your community could benefit from such programs? Why, or why not?

Activity 2: Comparative Geography

Look up the populations of India and Pakistan and see how they compare to the United States. In the reports above, journalists and experts noted that large portions of the populations in India and Pakistan work outdoors. What challenges do you think populations of this size pose for governments that are already cash-strapped? What do you think the global community can do to help?

Andy Kratochvil
Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, video games, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community. He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from... See More
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