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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • State-wise Pearson's correlation between HW/SHW events and observed mortality reveals that the eastern coastal states Odisha and Andhra Pradesh show a significant positive correlation of 0.62 and 0.73, respectively.

When an IMD report earlier this year had revealed how many of the districts in western and northern Odisha adjoining Jharkhand had grown warmer by 0.5degrees Celsius vis-a-vis the average mean temperature for the last 100 years, now a new study claims heat waves or severe heatwaves have an impact on the mortality level in Odisha.

As per the study titled 'Changing Spatio-temporal trends of a heatwave and severe heatwave events over India: An emerging health hazard', while Odisha has been witnessing a decreasing trend in heatwave events, the killer fact is the whole of the State, except Malkangiri, is now recording an increase in severe heatwave events.

The ground reality of the study: Bhubaneswar had been the hottest place in the country in Feb-March this year.

The study conducted by a team of researchers led by Prof. R.K. Mall and including Saumya Singh and Nidhi Singh from the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India-Mahamana Centre of Excellence in Climate Change Research (MCECCR) at Banaras Hindu University finds that a high of 12 districts in Odisha has recorded a significant rise in trend of severe heatwave events over the period of 1951-2016.

The study released today is published in the journal “International Journal of Climatology”.

District Heat Map

The districts that now show a significant rise in severe heatwave events are parts of Sundargarh adjacent to Keonjhar, Deogarh, Angul, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Jajpur, Balangir,  places in Bargarh and Nuapada adjacent to Balangir and Kalahandi.

The other 17 districts, including Puri, Khordha, Cuttack and Ganjam, have recorded an increasing, not significant, trend of severe hit waves during the period March-May.

However, the soothing news is Malkangiri seems to have emerged as Odisha's coolest district, as both the heat and severe heatwave events are showing a decreasing trend.

Killer Heat?

The big shocker the study dropped is Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are the only two states that show a positive correlation between heatwave/severe heatwave events and observed mortality.

" State-wise Pearson's correlation between HW/SHW events and observed mortality reveals that the eastern coastal states Odisha and Andhra Pradesh show a significant positive correlation of 0.62 and 0.73, respectively," the study claimed.

For which, the study batted on the need to recognise heat waves as a potential health risk and demanded further study, robust preparedness, and policy intervention to protect the vulnerable sections of the society from the deleterious impact of heatwaves.

The study is based on the revised criteria given by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) using daily gridded maximum temperature data at 0.5° × 0.5° resolution from IMD.

IMD Report 2020

As per the IMD Annual Summary report released earlier this year, when the mean temperature of the country had shown an anomaly of 0.37 deg C vis-a-vis the average mean temperature for a period of 100 years (1901 -2020), which means the mean temperature of the country has risen by 0.37 deg C over the period, the anomaly (rise in tempearture) has been 0.5 deg C in parts of Odisha (exactly, the districts that are mentioned in the New report).

The report, in fact, points to the warming of India, and Odisha growing warmer than the country.

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