UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Heat Index
A heat wave is a protracted period of extremely hot weather, which could also be along with high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries.
- It may result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, stress and even a fatal heat stroke.
- In 2015, over 2400 people died as a result of the heat wave in India.
- The heat wave also killed cattle and wildlife and also adversely affected animals in India’s many zoos.
- It can also cause major disruption in community infrastructure such as power supply, public transport and other essential services
- Since heat waves develop slowly, killing and injuring human beings and animals all over the country, it is also described as a ‘silent disaster’.
- India’s first ever heat Index was introduced by the Indian Meteorological Department in 2016.
- The index will is available on the IMD website, and will be updated every three hours across all weather stations.
- A heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels. It is calculated based on actual temperatures and relative humidity levels.
- The index will give citizens accurate and updated information on the heat conditions specific to their areas.
- In addition to introducing terminologies, the index will also comprise a warning colour code accompanied by information on health hazards if the temperatures and humidity levels cross a particular threshold.
- For instance, a heat index between 40 and 54 with humidity levels less than 70% and more than 70% is termed is ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘uncomfortable sultry’.
- With yellow and orange as warning colour codes respectively, the health hazards read “heat cramps and heat exhaustion likely”.
- Similarly, a green colour code with a heat index less than 40 is ‘comfortable’ with no health hazards,
- While a heat index of more than 54 means ‘highly uncomfortable hot’ (orange) and ‘highly uncomfortable sultry’ (red) indicating a likelihood of heat stroke or sun stroke.
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