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Soaring heat in Asia driven by climate change – study

BENGALURU, India – Sizzling heat across Asia and the Middle East in late April that echoed last year's destructive swelter was made 45 times more likely in some parts of the continent because of human-caused climate change, a study Tuesday found.

Scorching temperatures were felt across large swaths of Asia, from Gaza in the west — where over 2 million people face clean water shortages, lack of health care and other essentials amid the Israeli bombardment — to the Philippines in the southeast, with many parts of the continent experiencing temperatures well above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) several days in a row.

The study was released by the World Weather Attribution group of scientists, who use established climate models to quickly determine whether human-caused climate change played a part in extreme weather events around the world.

A zookeeper bathes an elephant inside an enclosure during a hot summer day at the Safari Park in Karachi on May 14, 2024. Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP

In the Philippines, scientists found the heat was so extreme it would have been impossible without human-caused climate change. In parts of the Middle East, climate change increased the probability of the event by about a factor of five.

«People suffered and died when April temperatures soared in Asia,» said Friederike Otto, study author and climate scientist at Imperial College in London. «If humans continue to burn fossil fuels, the climate will continue to warm, and vulnerable people will continue to die.»

At least 28 heat-related deaths were reported in Bangladesh, as well as five in India and three in Gaza in April. Surges in heat deaths have also been reported in Thailand and the Philippines this year, according to the study.


The heat also had a large impact on agriculture, causing crop damage and reduced yields, as well as on education, with school vacations having to be extended and schools closed in several countries, affecting thousands of students.

Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam broke records for their hottest April day, and the Philippines experienced its hottest night ever with a low of 29.8 C (85.6 F). In India, temperatures reached as high as 46 C (115 F).