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A woman puts water on her face to get relief from extreme heat during hot weather in Kolkata, India.

Debajyoti Chakraborty via Reuters

We need to talk about wet bulb weather

Millions of Indians are suffering through one of the country’s worst heat waves in over a century.

Temperatures in India throughout April passed 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) – a hell on earth that the Washington Post says is "testing the limits of human survival.” India’s meteorology department, meanwhile, has warned that the country is likely to continue to fry throughout May.

The problem is that residents can’t sweat it out – literally. India is not only experiencing soaring temperatures, but also soaring humidity levels, giving rise to a phenomenon known as wet bulb conditions. This occurs when temperatures exceed 88 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity is over 95%.

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Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: Where are climate-linked scorchers deadliest?

A recent spate of extreme heat waves has killed scores of people around the world. But, why is this happening? According to a recent study, 37 percent of all global deaths from heat can be attributed directly to climate change, as a rapidly warming planet caused by industrial pollution makes heat waves more frequent, intense... and deadly. We take a look at where climate-linked scorchers kill the most people, as well as carbon dioxide emissions per capita in those places.

A man cools off in Salmon Street Springs downtown Portland, Ore., on June 28, 2021, where temperatures reached an all time high of 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa

What We’re Watching: Global scorcher, Indonesia’s COVID surge, Lebanon keeps imploding

Global heat wave: In much of the world, the past few days have been an absolute scorcher. Temperatures in the normally damp, temperate US Pacific Northwest soared to records of 115 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Further north in Canada's British Columbia, the mercury climbed to 121, causing dozens of deaths. In remote reaches of Siberia, satellites recorded a mark of 117 degrees. Yes, you read that right: 117 degrees in Siberia. Typically toastier parts of the world have suffocated under unusual heat too: temperatures broke 120 in Southern Iraq this week, just as the region is struggling with widespread power outages. Experts say that although massive heatwaves are perfectly natural, climate change makes them more likely to occur and more intense when they do. In other words: the drastic effects of climate change aren't off in the future somewhere; they are here, right now. Will this hot spell light a fresh fire under efforts to tackle climate change ahead of the next UN climate change summit in Glasgow this fall? We're sweating out that answer along with the rest of you.

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