'Global boiling' feared
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'Global boiling' feared

Mercury set to climb to record levels in summer amid climate twist

Summer heat: Visitors at the Emerald Buddha temple wear hats or use their hands as cover to beat the unbearable heat during the daytime on Saturday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Summer heat: Visitors at the Emerald Buddha temple wear hats or use their hands as cover to beat the unbearable heat during the daytime on Saturday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Thailand is facing the prospect of another scorching summer, with the highest recorded temperature in the last 73 years already reached this year.

Mae Hong Son, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Tak and Udon Thani provinces are expected to be this year's five hottest provinces, with the mercury due to hit 44C or higher, according to the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD).

Bangkok, meanwhile, is forecast to experience temperatures of at least 40C on April 27 when the sun's rays hit the capital from a certain angle.

Seree Supratid, director of the Climate Change and Disaster Centre at Rangsit University, said most parts of the country should expect to see the mercury climb by 1-2C.

The hottest places are likely to be the plateau areas of Mae Hong Son, Tak and Lampang, where there is extensive deforestation, he said, forecasting temperatures of 44.6-44.9C.

Mr Seree said the country is experiencing the latest twist in the climate crisis: global boiling.

Seree Supratid, director of the Climate Change and Disaster Centre at Rangsit University


According to a senior TMD official, the sizzling weather this year is a result of El Nino, which has a severe impact on a global level, including drought, heavy rainfall and new record high temperatures.

The frequent swings in weather patterns mean the world's climate will never be the same again, said the official, who declined to give his name.

Up until five years ago, the El Nino and La Nina phenomena would cycle around every 2.5 years. It then shortened to become an annual occurrence, he said.

"We can no longer say what is going to happen in its cycle. But we have already seen weird weather and unusual patterns of this phenomenon. We are going to experience higher temperatures next year as well as more severe drought and rainfall," the official said.

Mr Seree concurred, adding the influence of each El Nino could be prologued for another six years, or an additional two in the case of La Nina.

"We cannot avoid the result of climate change, nor can we fix what's been done in the past. We must live with it," Mr Seree said.

He also noted the window to commit to the Paris Agreement now seems closed.

During this international treaty on climate change signed in 2016, 196 countries agreed to commit to limiting the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5C.

"Without cutting the use of fossil fuel, natural gas and coal consumption by half by the year 2030, the ambitious target to control the rising temperature could never be achieved," Mr Seree said.

"The world's average temperature will continue to climb. We are looking at a five-degree Celsius increase by 2100."

He said if all concerned parties were to take more serious actions to control greenhouse gas emissions, it may help mitigate the warming to a 2.9C rise in total.

Increasing green areas and wetlands is also crucial to reduce global heat.


Summer temperatures in recent years have been so severe that the death toll from heat stroke has been rising since 2019.

Last year, 37 cases of heat-related death were reported, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Most were farmers and outdoor labourers, 10% of whom had chronic diseases and an history of excessing alcohol consumption.

Dr Atchara Nithiapinyasakul, chief of the Department of Health, said risky groups such as the elderly, people living with chronic diseases, those with disabilities and people with obesity should avoid the extreme and outdoor activities.

They should try to ward off heatstroke and dehydration by staying in shaded areas and drinking a lot of water, she said.

During the high heat index, however, some jobs cannot avoid exposure to the sun and inevitable heat.

Those whose jobs are synonymous with the sweltering heat said it might affect their wellbeing. As such, special concern and proper welfare benefits from their employers and the state should be considered, pundits say.

Mr Sophon, a 53-year-old security guard, works at an outdoor car park of a state hospital from 6am to 4pm.

"I have been in this job for five years. I have felt the weather grow hotter over the past few years, especially between 11am and 1pm.

"After 2pm it's still hot because of the hot emissions from the cars. The weather is hot, but the cars bring even more heat," he said.

He said he drinks a lot of electrolytes and wears a balaclava to protect his skin from burning. But the weather is now so extreme that such clothing is too uncomfortable, he said, saying he prefers sunscreen and shaded areas.

"If the heat reaches a dangerous point, I think it would be better if the government could provide more welfare for outdoor workers, or more green space and shaded areas," he said, adding there were not enough large trees to shield him and his fellow workers.

Mr Somchai, a 31-year-old delivery rider whose job demands he endure the sweltering heat, agreed.

He said he had to ride in the strong sunlight for at least five hours a day while wearing a suffocating uniform. Although the thick clothing can protect him from sunburn, it makes it hard to breathe.

"Some days when the weather is super hot, I feel like I'm going to pass out while riding," he said.

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