NASA reported that April was the seventh month in a row when global temperatures broke all-time records. The problem is particularly acute in some of the hottest areas in the world. The temperate reached 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 Celsius) in Bhubaneswar, India, and essentially shut down the city. Almost certainly this will become an ever greater threat in cities where temperatures often run over 100 during certain periods of the year.
According to the Times of India, the problem was not isolated to the city, but covered a larger area of the world’s second most populous country:
Other places recording high temperatures during the day include Chandbali (44.4 degree), Talcher (43.8 degree), Sundergarh (43.5 degree), Jharsuguda (43.4 degree), Bolangir (43.2 degree), Cuttack and Baripada (42.5 degree each), Malkangiri (42.4 degree) and Sambalpur (42.3 degree).
The precautions of shuttering businesses and schools are not unlike those taken when cities face record high levels of air pollution.
According to the WHO, half of the world’s cities with the worst air pollution are in India. This presses lung disease higher in these cities and erodes their ability to be commerce centers and improve worker efficiency.
As CDC researchers have pointed out, the dangers of heat on humans is almost immediate under extreme circumstances:
Extreme heat events can trigger a variety of heat stress conditions, such as heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. Body temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body cannot cool down. This condition can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. Small children, the elderly, and certain other groups including people with chronic diseases, low-income populations, and outdoor workers have higher risk for heat-related illness.
The problem is worst in India, but it is a signal of things to come in other countries with high temperatures, particularly as the global heat figures increase every month.
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