May 04, 2016

Deadly heat wave is shattering all-time records in Southeast Asia and India

By:  Tyler Essary and Andrew Freedman, Mashable, April 29 2016

Southeast Asia and India are currently enduring a historic and brutal heat wave that has already been blamed for more than 150 deaths and shows few signs of relenting.

 Photo Credit:  This image released by NASA's Earth Observatory Team from data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), an instrument on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites, shows the land surface temperature as observed by MODIS in Asia between April 15 to April 23, 2016. Yellow shows the warmest temperatures.  (Reto Stockli/NASA Earth Observatory Team/MODIS Land Science Team/AP)

April in Thailand is typically hot and sweaty, but this year's scorching weather has set a record for the longest heat wave in at least 65 years.

The temperature in Sukhothai, Thailand spiked to 44.3 degrees Celsius, or 111.7 degrees Celsius, on April 12 — just short of the all-time national record. Surrounding countries have set all-time temperature records for any month of the year during this April heat wave.

Chris Burt, a weather historian at Weather Underground, said Cambodia and Laos each set all-time record highs for any day of the year during this month. In Cambodia, Burt reported, the temperature climbed to 42.6 degrees Celsius, or 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit, in Preah Vihea on April 15.

In Thailand, a new record for national energy consumption was reached on April 26, according to the Associated Press.

In India, April can also be a particularly stifling month as the country warms before the monsoon rains arrive. This year, however, the April heat has been extreme.

A key contributor to the heat waves is a waning El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which can lead to dry and hot conditions in Southeast Asia and India at this time of year. Scientific studies show that global warming is also enhancing the likelihood of heat waves as well as making them more severe.

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