It has been emphasised over and over again – climate change is not a phenomenon of the future. It is the phenomenon of now. Several parts of the country are experiencing record temperatures after long periods of winter, with heatwaves forecast in numerous states. Since the India meteorological department (met department or IMD) began keeping statistics, the month of March this year was the hottest in 122 years. It follows the record-breaking heat of March of last year, which was the third hottest on record. March welcomed the early arrival of summer, with an average maximum temperature of 33.10 degrees Celsius across the country, a trend that is becoming the norm. The meteorological department has blamed the high temperatures on the month’s lack of rainfall. The rainfall deficit in India was as high as 72 percent, with the deficit reaching 89 percent in the country’s northwest.
Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of heatwaves in India significantly over the last decade. The number of days with exceptionally hot temperatures has steadily increased at 103 weather stations, largely in inland areas, from 413 in 1981-90 to 575 in 2001-10 and 600 in 2011-20, according to an ongoing study by the Met Department. During the 1961-2020 period, the majority of the 103 weather stations documented a considerably growing trend in heatwave frequency between April and June, according to the researchers.
Record-breaking Temperatures in the Country
The scorching heat wave that has been currently sweeping broad swaths of the country worsened on Thursday, with temperatures reaching 45 degrees in numerous locations. The temperature in Gurugram reached 45.6 degrees Celsius, topping the previous record of 44.8 degrees Celsius set on April 28, 1979.
Its neighbour, Delhi, saw the hottest April day in 12 years, with a temperature of 43.5 degrees Celsius. On April 18, 2010, the national capital reached a maximum temperature of 43.7 degrees Celsius. Allahabad (45.9 degrees Celsius) in Uttar Pradesh; Khajuraho (45.6 degrees Celsius), Nowgong (45.6 degrees Celsius), and Khargone (45.2 degrees Celsius) in Madhya Pradesh; Akola (45.4 degrees Celsius), Bramhapuri (45.2 degrees Celsius), and Jalgaon (45.6 degrees Celsius) in Maharashtra; and Daltonganj (45.6 degrees Celsius) in Jharkhand were all scorched by the intense heatwave (45.8 degrees Celsius).
Orange Alert in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra
The heatwave will last for the next four days in northwest and central India, and two days in east India, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). “Throughout the following two days, a rise of roughly two degrees Celsius in maximum temperature is very likely over most portions of northwest India,” it warned.
For the next four days, an orange alert has been issued for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra’s Vidarbha area. For weather alerts, the IMD employs four different colour codes. Green indicates that no action is required, yellow indicates that you should watch and stay informed, orange indicates that you should be prepared, and red indicates that you should take action. Temperatures in portions of northwest India could reach 47 degrees Celsius, according to forecasters.
Health Advisory for Protection against Heatwave by IMD
With an aim to help prevent the negative impacts of the heatwave on the health of people, IMD has released a health advisory that states:
– For susceptible persons, such as infants, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions, a heatwave could cause moderate health issues.
– Heat illness symptoms are more likely in persons who have been exposed to the sun for a long time or who work hard.
– Keep cool and avoid overheating. Dehydration should be avoided at all costs.
– Even if you aren’t thirsty, drink plenty of water
– Avoid overheating by dressing in light-coloured, loose-fitting cotton clothing and covering the head with a cloth, hat, or umbrella, among other things.
– To stay hydrated, drink ORS or homemade drinks like lassi, Torani (rice water), lemon water, buttermilk, and so on.