As the world continues to break records for hot temperatures, one city in India is suffering under oppressive, mind-shattering heat. Phalodi, in northern Rajasthan, registered a new national record of 51 degrees Celsius, which is an unprecedented 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
The prior record was set in another city in Rajasthan, Alwar, back in 1956 with a temperature of 50.6 degrees Celsius, or 123 degrees Fahrenheit. This new temperature smashes not only the country high, but the continent high. It’s shy of breaking the worldwide high by only around six degrees – that record is still held by a 1913 Death Valley temperature.
It’s not strange for Rajasthan to hit highs in the 40’s (in Celsius), but spiking above 50 degrees is rare. Located in the west of the country nearing the border between India and Pakistan, Phalodi is located in the Thar Desert and is often home to blazing hot temperatures, but they’ve never been quite this high.
It’s estimated that hundreds of people have already perished due to the heat. Last year’s heat wave melted city streets and killed more than one thousand. Dehydration and heat stroke were both to blame. India’s weather office has put out alerts notifying people about the heat wave, with some regions banning cooking during the day to prevent fires. According to The Guardian, a heat wave is officially announced when 45 degrees Celsius hits, or when the temperature is five degrees greater than average temperatures collected in prior years.
After still more records were shattered in April, NASA climate scientists Gavin Schmidt said there is a greater than 99 percent chance that 2016 will continue its streak and be hotter than 2015, which currently holds the record for hottest year. Scientific American reports that the last “record cold year” was 1911.
Via The Guardian