Melting glaciers and disappointing wheat harvest

Melting glaciers and disappointing wheat harvest

Wheat is harvested in Jammu, India, on April 28. Disappointing returns due to the heat wave.AP . image

Unprecedented warmth in India, and Pakistan records record temperatures

It is “the worst heat wave in 122 years”, according to various Indian media. Temperatures soared above 50 degrees Celsius in some parts of India this weekend. Large parts of northern and central India are experiencing an official heat wave. Even at night it remains warm, often the mercury does not drop below 30 degrees for 24 hours. Before global warming, these temperatures in India occurred once every fifty years. “Now every four years,” said Maryam Zakaria, a weather expert at Imperial College London. Several Indian states have closed schools due to the heat, and the electricity is regularly cut off. It is also very hot in neighboring Pakistan. There, the National Meteorological Institute warns of floods from melting Himalayan glaciers. “For the first time without spring, we went straight from winter to summer,” said Pakistan’s climate minister. In early June, the monsoons will bring some relief.

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Heat wave slows down grain production in India

In March, temperature records were smashed in India and Pakistan, and this could have dire consequences for India’s grain harvest. India is the world’s second largest producer of wheat, but it exports relatively little of the grain. At the beginning of April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a conversation with US President Biden that “India can feed the world”. It now appears that the return this year may be quite disappointing. Punjab, India’s largest wheat producer, is registering a 20 per cent drop in wheat delivery compared to this time last year. During the previous heat wave, in 2015, the wheat yield per hectare decreased significantly. This decreased from more than 3,100 kg to 2,750 kg per hectare.

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