Asia is currently experiencing a heatwave that has broken temperature records in more than 12 countries, including China and India,which make up a third of the world’s population. The heat spell has been described as a “monster” and the worst April heatwave in the region’s history by climatologist and weather historian Maximiliano Herrera.
Thailand recently broke its national heat record, with a temperature of 45.4 degrees Celsius (113.72 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded in the province of Tak, while Laos likely hit its “highest reliable temperature in its history.” China has also seen hundreds of weather stations break their April heat records, with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in India.
Last year, China experienced its most severe heatwave, which lasted over 70 days and stretched across almost 530,000 square miles. The heatwave shuttered factories and sent people packing to caves to try and cool down. Climate change is making prolonged, extreme heatwaves more common across the world, and South and Southeast Asia typically experience their hottest period of the year from April to May.
This year’s heatwave is especially intense due to its length and spread across much of the continent, but it’s just one of the many extreme weather events that have hit Asia in recent years. In 2021, India, Pakistan, and other parts of South Asia experienced an epic heatwave made 30 times more likely by climate change.