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How India Is Heating Up

by | May 5, 2022 | Climate Change

While extreme heat events have always happened, it is their more frequent, more prolonged and more intense appearance that is a sign of climate change.
Photo by elCarito on Unsplash

India and Pakistan are in the grips of a major heatwave that is “testing the limits of human survivability”, according to an IPPC author cited by CNN. April temperature records fell in many localities causing the highest temperatures in the month in more than 100 years as the countries are experiencing a spring-less year that went from winter straight into summer.

The temperature climbed upwards of 40° Celsius in many places for prolonged periods of time, several degrees above the average temperatures for this time of year.

While extreme heat events have always happened, it is their more frequent, more prolonged and more intense appearance that is a sign of climate change.

Looking at mean temperature records in India since 1901, it is apparent that the country has become hotter as the decades have gone by. Compared to the average of mean temperature between 1901 and 1910 – 25.16° Celsius -, winters have gradually become warmer, while summer – and spring – heat has increased. While January and February temperatures were still 4.6° Celsius below the 1901-10 average in 1911-20, that had decreased to 4.3° Celsius on average in 2011-20. While in 1911-20, summer temps diverged by 2.6° C, they most recently exceeded the old average by 3.1° C. Spring (March-May) actually saw the biggest average increase in mean temperature in the given time frame – from a 2.0° C divergence in 1911-20 to a 2.7° C divergence only 100 years later.

This chart shows the average divergence from mean temperature at the beginning of the last century in India, by decade (in °C).

This chart shows the average divergence from mean temperature at the beginning of the last century in India, by decade (in °C).

Katharina Buchholz
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