From meteorologist Eric Holthaus's analysis today for Slate (India's Deadly Heat Wave). Much of the writing is a stump against global warming, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, etc., and a discussion of India's electricity as it pertains to electricity. But I found these passages interesting:
Next to parts of the Amazon River basin, coastal India typically experiences the highest heat indexes of anywhere on the planet.
Conditions like this—horrible heat, and the vast majority of people without access to air conditioning—will continue until the monsoon season arrives in early June. The Indian monsoon is, in my opinion, the most important weather forecast in the world, and the outlook for this year’s rains isn’t great.
With so many farmers dependent on the rains—which produce 70 percent of the year’s total rainfall in just four months—the monsoon is sometimes called “India’s real finance minister.”
Though the rains are expected to arrive on time this year, the seasonal total could disappoint for reasons similar to last year’s failure: A growing El Niño and an unfavorable distribution of heat in the Indian Ocean could stifle thunderstorms. Should the monsoon’s northward progression stall out like last year’s, India could have several more weeks of scorching heat to come.As to Holthaus's diatribe about India's poor dying in the current heat wave, which so far as claimed more 1,100 lives -- has he forgotten that more than 52,000 people died in Europe's heat wave in 2003?
It was some time after the event before the true number of deaths was properly tallied and published. And an abstract for one study that can be purchased online for 36 bucks suggests the death toll was much higher -- 70,000 -- although I don't know whether the authors were able to demonstrate that the 'additional' deaths were specifically heat-related.