11 Stunning Photos Capture India Heat Wave, As Death Toll Climbs to 1,500
India is in the midst of a gripping heat wave with the death toll climbing to 1,500. "In the hardest-hit areas, temperatures have been up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for several days during what is usually the hottest time of the year," says Slate. In New Delhi, it got so hot—peaking at 113 degrees Fahrenheit—the roads melted. " The highest recorded temperature so far was 117 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday at Titlagarh in Odisha—which was just five degrees below the country’s all-time record.
“This is the highest death toll due to heat wave ever in the state,” Tulasi Rani, the special commissioner for disaster management in Andhra Pradesh told Slate. “Last year around 447 people died due to heat. This year the heat wave is continuing for a longer period than in previous years.”
You may be thinking that there are plenty of places around the world that see these high temperatures, but coastal parts of India, for example Mumbai, have extremely high humidity levels on top of the high temperatures, which have persisted for much longer than usual. The misery index, which factors in both heat and humidity, has been "off the charts," Slate reports.
Extreme weather including droughts, floods and heat waves are only going to become more frequent due to climate change. Researchers have found that though these extreme events have always occurred, they are occurring more often because of global warming.
Twenty six of 31 days this month in India have been or are forecasted to be hotter than normal, according to Wunderground. Also, India still has a largely rural economy, where people work outside and air conditioning is not nearly as common as in other parts of the world. All of these factors compound to make the heat wave in India really bad.
But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out these 11 photos of the brutal heat wave gripping India:
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 28, 2015
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) May 28, 2015
— Herb DeCordova (@HerbSpeaks) May 28, 2015
— Slate (@Slate) May 28, 2015
India's poor swelter as deadly heat wave kills more than 1,100: http://t.co/4Gmc6tNJIr pic.twitter.com/fR0daDlRhW
— CNN (@CNN) May 27, 2015
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) May 26, 2015
More than 500 people killed as heat wave bakes parts of India http://t.co/6RIvPVCK4l pic.twitter.com/0XcennQjrh
— Svein T veitdal (@tveitdal) May 26, 2015
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 25, 2015
Massive India heatwave kills at least 500... http://t.co/Nmo7QVX7yc 48C - that's hot pic.twitter.com/uguYaNLmEo
— CECHR (@CECHR_UoD) May 25, 2015
— Zee News (@ZeeNews) May 25, 2015
Southeast #India #heatwave toll now at 230 http://t.co/VavnuImmf9 pic.twitter.com/EleBr44C3B
— Arab News (@Arab_News) May 23, 2015
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.
"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."
The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.
They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.
They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.
But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.
"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.
What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.
It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.
To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.
First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.
Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.
University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.
"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."
Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.
"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
In 'Road Map for a More Sustainable Future,' NY Regulator Tells Banks to Consider Climate Risks in Planning
By Brett Wilkins
Regulators in New York state announced Thursday that banks and other financial services companies are expected to plan and prepare for risks posed by the climate crisis.
There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.
A NASA spacecraft has successfully collected a sample from the Bennu asteroid more than 200 million miles away from Earth. The samples were safely stored and will be preserved for scientists to study after the spacecraft drops them over the Utah desert in 2023, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Exxon Mobil will lay off an estimated 14,000 workers, about 15% of its global workforce, including 1,900 workers in the U.S., the company announced Thursday.
- Will Chevron and Exxon Ever Be Held Responsible for Decades of ... ›
- Exxon Goes on Trial for Lying About the Climate Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Exxon Sues Massachusetts Attorney General to Block Climate Fraud ... ›