Researchers agree that climate change linked to increasing temperatures poses a grave threat to developing countries like India. The extent of the risk, however, is unclear due in part to a lack of appropriate data and analysis.
In this dissertation, I first explore how future heatwaves in India may vary over time and geography and estimate the impact they might have on mortality. Merging census, survey, and satellite remote sensing data from multiple sources, I apply principal component analysis to create a district-level composite Heat Vulnerability Index. Then using temperature, population, and heat-death data, I calculate exposure-response function regression estimates and use them to predict heat-related deaths under multiple future climate change and population growth scenarios. From these analyses, I can identify heat hotspots in the country and estimate excess mortality.
In addition, I also explore mechanisms to mitigate the mortality effects of heatwaves. To generate appropriate local heat adaptation measures, I conducted sixteen in-depth interviews of academics, climate-health researchers, medical doctors, community activists, urban planners, and policy advisors with expertise in heatwaves and India. After coding the qualitative data, I summarize the range of policy options across household, community and national levels.
Table of Contents
Paper 1: Heatwave vulnerability mapping for India
Paper 2: Future heat death estimates for India under climate change and population scenarios
Paper 3: Heat Adaptation