Parts of India and Pakistan experienced harsh heatwaves in early March which broke several records.
“The long-running heatwave in India and Pakistan, which has caused widespread human suffering and hit global wheat supplies, was about 30 times more likely to happen because of human-caused climate change.”
This is according to an attribution analysis done by World Weather Attribution (WWA) an international collaboration that analyses and communicates the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events.
March was the hottest in India since records began 122 years ago, with Pakistan also seeing record temperatures; the heatwave intensified in April. At least 90 people have died as a result of the heatwave, “a toll that will almost certainly increase substantially with more reporting,” said the report.
March was also extremely dry, with 62% less rain than normal over Pakistan and 71% below normal over India, said the report.
The early onset of the heatwave, combined with the lack of rain, hit India’s wheat production. Consequently, the Indian government announced a ban on wheat exports, further increasing global prices, by 6%.
India had previously expected to export a record 10 million tons of wheat, which would have helped make up for the shortfall caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.