Fruit bats among the casualties of India's extreme heat

Near-record temperatures recorded as heat wave strikes India ahead of the annual monsoon rains.

    Fruit bats among the casualties of India's extreme heat
    The way to keep cool in Ahmedabad, India [Reuters]

    In Bhopal, India, the heat is too much for the fruit bat population.

    As the thermometer recorded 45C on Tuesday, just one short of the all-time record, the unlucky beasts dropped from the trees, while the wiser ones belly-flopped into Upper Lake, to cool off.

    In the major El Nino spring of 1998, India broke heat records on a daily basis. Weather forecasts of three degrees above previous records were not believed, but they were right.

    Now, in this developing El Nino year, India is again suffering from searing heat. Nagpur in Maharashtra recorded 47C on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week, which is within a degree of the record.

    Newspapers are reporting 48C in some places around the city making an unofficial new record high for Nagpur.

    As New Delhi hit 43C, a rare thunderstorm cooled things down, but also brought in a dust storm.

    This week, thunderstorms have become rare and the heat has set in, with no relief from the burning sun, over most of India.

    Diving into rivers, lakes and even water barrels has been the solution for many humans and animals.

    Every year the pre-monsoon heat is eventually dissipated as the rains burst, which they do in the south first. Unfortunately this rain also brings up the humidity.

    At the moment, temperatures in the 40s are accompanied by humidity in the 20 to 30 percent range. This makes the heat bearable. When the rain comes, however, temperatures will drop back to the 30s and the humidity will rise to 70 percent or more.

    With a highly agro-centric economy, India depends on the annual rains, and this building, preceding, heat wave is a consequence that must be borne.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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