Heat Wave: 52% Increase In Days Reaching 35°C In Major Capitals

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Climate Crisis, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Heat Wave: 52% Increase In Days Reaching 35°C In Major Capitals

In the past three decades, major capital cities worldwide have experienced a striking surge in scorching heat wave, with the number of days reaching 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) increasing by 52%. This alarming trend underscores the growing impact of climate change on urban environments. It was highlighted in a recent report by the International Institute for Environment and Development.

heat wave

Urban Heat Islands: Cities on the Frontline

The study, focusing on 20 of the world’s most populous capitals from Delhi to Jakarta, reveals a concerning pattern. Asphalt and buildings in these densely populated urban centers act as heat traps, intensifying the effects of rising temperatures. The consequence is a heightened vulnerability among over 300 million residents who face prolonged heatwaves, exacerbating health risks and straining infrastructure.

Capital cities like Delhi, Dhaka, and Manila have already endured severe heatwaves in recent years, resulting in tragic fatalities and disruptions to daily life. Delhi, for instance, saw its longest and most severe heatwave in 74 years, with temperatures soaring above 40 C (104 F) for 39 consecutive days earlier this year, according to meteorological data.

Data Analysis: Quantifying the Heat Wave Surge

IIED’s analysis, based on surface temperature data collected from airport weather stations, paints a clear picture of the escalating threat posed by extreme heat. Between 2014 and 2023, these 20 capitals collectively experienced nearly 6,500 days with temperatures reaching or exceeding 35 C, marking a significant increase from the 4,755 days recorded between 1994 and 2003.

Tucker Landesman, a researcher at IIED, emphasized the unequal distribution of heat within cities, noting that certain neighbourhoods and commercial areas are more susceptible to extreme temperatures. This disparity, influenced by urban design and infrastructure, underscores broader societal inequalities and the urgent need for adaptive strategies.

Mitigating the Impact: Towards Resilient Urban Planning

Efforts to mitigate the impact of urban heat islands are increasingly vital. Sustainable urban planning, including green spaces, reflective surfaces, and improved building design, can help reduce heat absorption and provide cooling effects. Moreover, public health measures such as heat action plans and early warning systems are crucial in protecting vulnerable populations during heat waves.

As global temperatures continue to rise, the findings from IIED’s analysis serve as a critical reminder of the pressing need for climate adaptation strategies tailored to urban environments. With millions of lives at stake, addressing the root causes of urban heat islands and implementing resilient solutions are essential steps towards creating safer, more livable cities for all.

In conclusion, the challenges posed by rising temperatures in major capitals are substantial. However, proactive measures guided by data-driven insights and collaborative efforts can make the way towards a more sustainable and resilient urban future.

Also Read: Extreme Summer Heat In Gaza Worsens Conditions For Palestinians


  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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