Rajasthan would probably not have suffocated if the human species did not exist. The heat wave that hit India and Pakistan in March-April was made 30 times more likely by human-caused climate change, scientists said in a study published on Monday (23 May).

An event of such intensity now has a probability of occurring once every 100 years, in our world where the average temperature has increased by 1.2°C from pre-industrial levels, explain the scientists of the World Weather Attribution (WWA)the network of scientists pioneering the attribution of extreme events to climate change.

Without anthropogenic climate change, the probability would be once in 3,000 years, explained Friederike Otto, of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London. And in a world where global warming would reach +2°C, this probability could increase to once every… five years.

More than 6,500 dead in ten years in India

While India and Pakistan were no strangers to high temperatures, the precocity and intensity of this heat wave, well before the monsoon, is exceptional, says the WWA which focused on maximum temperatures in March and April in northwestern India and southern Pakistan.

“In much of both countries, people have seen little respite for weeks, with a particularly high cost for hundreds of millions of people working outdoors. We know this is going to happen more often. with the rise in temperatures and we need to prepare better”warned Krishna AchutaRao, of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi.

This heat wave caused the death of 90 people, and caused power cuts and water shortages for millions of inhabitants. Since 2010, heat waves have killed more than 6,500 people in India.

In Pakistan, temperatures again reached 50°C in mid-May in Jacobabad, in the southern province of Sindh, while in India the temperature exceeded 48°C in Rajasthan. This heat was accompanied by a rainfall deficit, with 62% less abundant rain in Pakistan in March, and 71% less abundant in India.

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