India’s heat wave compared to the start of a climate catastrophe novel

India and Pakistan are bracing for a potentially “deadly” heatwave that people are comparing to a best-selling climate fiction novel in which millions die in India, leaving the nation reeling.

An unusually early heat wave has already brought extreme temperatures to much of northwestern India this month as the country records the hottest March on record, according to local reports. Now, new extreme heat is expected to hit parts of the country, as well as Pakistan later this week.

“Unfortunately for Indians and Pakistanis, the extreme heat is not over and it will only get worse in a few days,” tweeted climatologist Maximiliano Herrera, who tracks extreme weather around the world. “A life-threatening heat wave will see temperatures soar to 48-49C in Pakistan and 46-47C in India.”

The Indian Meteorological Department said heatwave conditions are very likely to occur in Gujarat state and eastern India over the next 4-5 days, affecting central and northwestern India from Wednesday. A forecaster estimated that temperatures could reach 50 degrees Celsius in Jacoband, Pakistan – some 11 degrees higher than the April average. The Indian capital, New Delhi, could reach 44 degrees celsius – about 6 degrees warmer than normal.

A schoolgirl shields herself from the sun in Prayagraj, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.


The main summer months – April, May and June – are still excruciatingly hot in most parts of India before monsoon rains bring cooler temperatures. But the heat wave came early and has become particularly intense over the past decade, killing hundreds of people every year.

Forecasts of additional heat this week have prompted climate and weather watchers to compare India’s heat wave to the novel ‘The Ministry of the Future’ by New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson.

The book opens with Frank May experiencing a devastating heat wave and high humidity in India. The high demand for air conditioning causes power outages, meaning only those with generators can stay vaguely cool. Eventually, millions die, leaving the nation traumatized and struggling with how to protect itself from further suffering.

The extreme heat and humidity depicted in the novel are unlikely to be repeated in real life this week, but the heat could still be extremely dangerous and readers said the parallels to the novel were hard to miss.

‘Ministry of the Future’ opens with a similar event, set in the future and therefore even hotter,” tweeted Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, a renowned German oceanographer and climatologist, calling it a “must read.”

“If this sounds oddly familiar to you, that’s because it’s basically the opening storyline of ‘The Ministry of the Future'” post John Gibbons, associate of the climate change think tank E3G.

“Not so far from the horrifying first chapter of Ministry of the Future,” said James Murray, editor of Business Green, a UK website focused on green business news and analysis.

Children eat ice cream in Prayagraj, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.


Climatologists have found that heat waves are becoming more likely and intense due to global warming.

“There is growing evidence that heat waves are increasing in intensity and frequency in India and around the world due to the increase in global average surface temperature,” said Bob Ward, director of policies at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in London. School of Economics and Political Science.

“These heatwave conditions are known to kill hundreds of people in India each year and will continue to grow more extreme until the world effectively reduces its annual greenhouse gas emissions to zero,” he said. declared. The Independent.

Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, said The Independent she had read “The Ministry of the Future” and said she felt the author had done a good job of choosing a heat wave in India as the extreme event caused by climate change.

“Heat waves are where climate change really changes the game,” she said. “These are the deadliest extremes.”

Irene B. Bowles