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Jacobabad, located along the Indus Valley, is the world's hottest city, and climate change can make burn even hotter.
Summers are beyond brutal in Pakistan's Jacobabad, where temperatures can scale 52 degrees Celsius -- a level the human body is not designed to endure. In fact, Jacobabad in Sindh province is the world’s hottest place. The only other city that experiences similar heat is Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE.
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How Jacobabad Bagged the World’s Hottest City Title
Jacobabad has always been known for its scorching summers. A city with a population of 200,000, it is one of the economically weakest regions in Pakistan. According to British daily Telegraph, the temperature here recently hit a life-threatening 52 degree Celsius. Scientists have attributed extreme heat waves across the world to climate change. Biologically, humans cannot withstand heat beyond the threshold of 52 degrees Celsius.
Among the locals in Jacobabad, very few can afford air conditioners, so they manage with fans, ice and water coolers. The erratic electric supply adds to their misery.
Geographically, Jacobabad is situated along the Indus Valley on the Tropic of Cancer. Its location ensures that the sun is directly overhead during the the summer months. A combination of high heat and humid air from the Arabian Sea makes the conditions near unliveable. The population here is mainly dependent on agriculture but they are forced to move to cities like Karachi and Quetta to escape the heat.
The chances of the record-breaking temperatures rising even further in the coming years are more than likely, say researchers who analyse global weather data. As per an article in Telegraph, Tom Matthews, a lecturer in climate science at Loughborough University, said Indus Valley is the number one spot worldwide in the context of climate change. This can have serious consequences, ranging from water scarcity to extreme heat.
This city has witnessed searing heat earlier as well. The first recording was made in July 1987, then in June 2005, followed by a rise in June 2010 and July 2012. The ultra-heat had only persisted for a few hours, with the three-day average temperature under wet bulb measurement for the summer months of 2010 and 2012 at 34 degrees Celsius.
Killer Heat is New Normal
Apart from Jacobabad and Ras al Khaimah, a study by Tom Matthews and his team, which was published in the Science Advances Journal last year, mentioned that parts of eastern coastal India, Pakistan and north-western India recorded temperatures over 31 degrees Celsius (wet bulb) during the summer months. In 2015, two deadly heatwaves across India and Pakistan left more than 4,000 dead.
Other parts of the world that have experienced blistering summers are the shores of Red Sea, Gulf of California, and the southern Gulf of Mexico. Recently, a town named Lytton in British Columbia, Canada, saw temperatures of 49.6 degrees Celsius. Over 1,000 residents were evacuated due to wildfires that are yet to subside. An article in the Independent quoted the British Columbia Wildfire Service as saying the Lytton wildfire was burning out of control over an area of approximately 30 square miles.
Not only Canada, but Oregon and Washington in the US are also experiencing heatwaves killing hundreds of people across the two countries.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: Jul 2, 2021 6:30 PM IST