India Heat Impact Project

Using High-Resolution Climate Models to Explore the Impact of Rising Temperatures on Human Health and Labor Productivity

India Heat Impact Project


Globally, higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becoming increasingly frequent due to climate change. India, with relatively low GDP per capita, high population density, and tropical climate, is particularly vulnerable to these trends. As a result of climate change, heat waves in this region will last longer, be more extreme, and occur with greater frequency in the coming years.

Impacts will be felt most acutely by vulnerable populations, which include not only those with frail health, but also populations otherwise considered healthy whose livelihood involves working under exposure to high temperatures. The problem is exacerbated by low levels of economic development, particularly in the under-provision of medical services, a higher proportion of weather-reliant income sources, and the inability to recover quickly from shocks.

Responding to these challenges requires collaboration among the disciplines of climate science, public health, economics, and public policy. This project explores three main dimensions of the challenge:

  1. The impact of extreme heat on human mortality
  2. The impact of combined heat and humidity (as measured by wet bulb globe temperature) on labor productivity
  3. Emerging best practices in adaptation planning

The results of the project have been presented as an online web application using Esri’s ArcGIS Story Map.

Explore the app