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More heat-wave days than usual for most of India this summer, IMD says

Ecology & Environment03 Apr 2024| A-AA+

In News

  • The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)  announced that India will see more than average heat wave days in this year’s hot weather season (April to June).
Heat wave
  • A period of abnormally high temperatures is called a heat wave.
  • The IMD declares a heat wave if the maximum temperature of a weather station reaches at least 40 degrees C in the plains and at least 30 degrees C in hilly regions, with a departure of around 4.5-6.4 degrees C from the normal maximum temperature.
  • The IMD can also declare a heat wave if the actual maximum temperature crosses 45 degrees C, and a ‘severe heat wave’ if it crosses 47 degrees C.
  • Qualitatively, a heat wave can also occur when the temperature of the air becomes fatal to the human body.
  • Heat waves in India are typically recorded between March and June, and tend to peak in May.
IMD forecast
  • The IMD forecast for hot weather has said most of India, barring parts of the east and the northeast and some pockets in the northwest, will experience above-normal maximum and minimum temperatures.
  • This can cause heat-related illnesses in people as well as affect agricultural output, cause water scarcity, increase the demand for energy, and affect ecosystems and air quality.
  • April, specifically, is likely to have more than the usual number of heat wave days over parts of the southern peninsula, northwest central India, east India, and the northwest plains.
  • January 2024 was the warmest January in 175 years, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted.
  • The average global land and ocean surface temperature was also 0.04 degrees C higher than the previous highest, in 2016
Increase in heat wave days
  • April 2023 found heat waves all over the world are getting more “recurrent, intense and lethal” due to climate change.
  • Data from April 2022 used in the study also showed abnormal temperatures caused due to climate change could have a severe impact on over 90% of India.
  • An increase in the number of heat-wave days and their intensity can exact steep costs from India’s public healthcare as well as agricultural output, thus affecting livelihoods, food production, disease spread, and more.
  • Higher temperatures can affect human health by causing heat stress and even death, according to the World Health Organisation.
  • A multi-city study conducted in India between 2008 and 2019 found a strong link between heat wave impact and daily mortality.
  • The ongoing El Niño weather condition also contributes to higher-than-usual temperatures, driving an increased occurrence of heat waves.
Source- The Hindu