Heatwaves are More Frequent and Intense and Now Start Earlier Than They Did in the Past

Environmental News from India: 

Since the beginning of March, days are getting hotter in India this summer, and the heatwaves across the country are expected to stretch into early next month.

Northwest and central India experienced their hottest April in 122 years, with average maximum temperatures reaching 35.9 and 37.78 degrees Celsius, respectively, the weather office said on Saturday.

What is the reason behind the current heatwave in India?

Weather experts have attributed the high temperature across the country to the absence of periodic light rainfall and thundershowers, typical for this time of the year, due to the lack of active western disturbances.

Northwest India saw at least four western disturbances in March and April, but they were not strong enough to cause a significant change in the weather, said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (Meteorology and Climate Change), Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency.

The region did not see any significant pre-monsoon activity from March 1 to April 20, which compounded the severity of the successive heatwave spells, he said, adding it had a ripple effect on central India too.

According to D Sivananda Pai of the Kottayam-based Institute for Climate Change Studies, anti-cyclones over western parts of Rajasthan in March and the absence of western disturbances had triggered the early and extreme heatwaves. Anticyclones cause hot and dry weather by sinking winds around high-pressure systems in the atmosphere.

Are these heatwaves an effect of global warming?

After multiple scientists claimed that the current spell of heatwaves in India and Pakistan are due to climate change, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said it would be premature to attribute it solely to climate change.

In a statement issued on Friday night, the WMO said: “It is premature to attribute the extreme heat in India and Pakistan solely to climate change. However, it is consistent with what we expect in a changing climate. Heatwaves are more frequent and more intense and now start earlier than they did in the past.”

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Source: Deccan Herald

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