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May/June 2018

Earth’s average surface temperature has risen 1.1°C (about 2.0°F) since the late 19th century with most of the warming occurring in the past 35 years. This change is attributed to the release of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) because of human activities.

According to NASA, Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880. Scientists link the rise in such extreme weather events with climate change — with humans at the center of the problem.Read more

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The great Karachi heat trap

The emergency ward at Karachi’s Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) was full to capacity when Abida Noor, a resident of Gulistan-i-Rafi Colony in Malir Town, took her younger daughter Kulsoom there for treatment in June 2015.

Temperatures in the coastal city had risen to around 42°C that week, but a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island Effect made the atmosphere as warm as around 47°C in several areas. Dozens of people suffered severe heat strokes that week.

Not having dealt with an emergency of that scale in the past, major city hospitals soon ran out of space. “The hospital was full of people. Beds were being shared by two to three patients. Many lay on the floor, waiting for a doctor to free up and examine them,” recalls Noor, who teaches at a primary school in her neighborhood.

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