Climate change may have contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers over the past three decades, according to new research that examines the toll rising temperatures are already taking on vulnerable societies.
Illustrating the extreme sensitivity of the Indian agricultural industry to spikes in temperature, the study from the University of California, Berkeley, found an increase of just 1C on an average day during the growing season was associated with 67 more suicides.
An increase of 5C on any one day was associated with an additional 335 deaths, the study published in the journal PNAS on Monday found. In total, it estimates that 59,300 agricultural sector suicides over the past 30 years could be attributed to warming.
Temperature increases outside the growing season showed no significant impact on suicide rates, suggesting stress on the agriculture industry was the source of the increase in suicides.