Heatwave: It was the hottest May in Delhi, India, since May 2013.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) reports that heatwave conditions persisted in the capital for the sixth day in a row, with a high temperature of 45.6 °C on Thursday, making it the hottest May since 2013. The minimum temperatures for this month were also the hottest since 2016, according to an analysis of those readings.

Though not unique, the very high temperatures that have been reported in New Delhi over the last few days are noteworthy. Numerous catastrophic weather disasters that have occurred recently around the world have brought attention to how severe climate change is becoming.
Delhi is currently one of the places with record-breaking temperatures, frequently reaching 50 degrees Celsius. The highest recorded temperature in India on Wednesday, May 29, is said to have been 52.9 degrees Celsius in several areas of Delhi.

Heatwave
Heatwave

But Delhi is not the only place experiencing intense heat. The United Kingdom saw temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius for the first time in July 2022. The nation’s highest temperature ever was 52 degrees Celsius, which was recorded in a small hamlet in northwest China last year. Sicily, Italy, experienced 48.8 degrees Celsius in 2021—the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe.

In July of last year, there was another worrying episode in Iran, where the heat index prompted temperatures to climb to an extraordinary 66 degrees Celsius. Iran proclaimed public holidays and recommended the elderly and those with health issues stay indoors due to this “unprecedented heat.”

Do these stem from changing weather patterns?

Heatwave:

It was predicted that 2024 would be an abnormally warm year. Global warming broke records last year, and this year is predicted to follow suit—and it hasn’t failed. Climate change has emerged as a crucial worldwide issue, with rising temperatures having a key impact. The primary cause of the extraordinary changes in Earth’s climate is human activity, particularly the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The Safdarjung weather station’s maximum temperature, which is representative of the weather in Delhi, dropped somewhat from 46.8°C on Wednesday to 45.6°C on the same day, although it was still five degrees over average. However, because of the effects of a western disturbance that began to affect the area on Friday, IMD has predicted a drop in the maximum temperature to about 43 °C on Saturday. Additionally, IMD forecast moderate rain in certain areas of the capital.

Deforestation, industrial operations, the burning of fossil fuels, and agricultural practices have all contributed to the buildup of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. The Earth’s average temperature has been steadily rising over the past century due to the greenhouse effect caused by this accumulation of heat trapped in the atmosphere.

Heatwave
Heatwave

Due to the disruption of typical weather patterns caused by climate change, extreme weather events such as protracted droughts and heatwaves are more common and intense. A feedback loop that enhances the effects of climate change is created when temperatures rise and phenomena like melting ice caps and increasing evaporation intensify warming.
According to research published on the UK-based website Carbon Brief, which focuses on climate change, between 2013 and 2023, nearly 40% of the Earth experienced daily temperatures that were higher than ever before, including locations in Antarctica.

India’s temperatures are still below average worldwide.

Heatwave :

According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, an organization of the European Union, the global average monthly temperature set a new record for the eleventh consecutive month in April 2024. The warmest 12-month period on record, with an average temperature increase of 1.61 degrees Celsius over the pre-industrial (1850–1900) period, occurred between May 2023 and April 2024.

Heatwave
Heatwave

But compared to the worldwide average, the warming over India is not as noticeable. India’s annual mean temperatures have increased by roughly 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1900, a far less amount than the 1.59 degrees Celsius rise in land temperatures worldwide. Global temperatures, including ocean temperatures, have risen by at least 1.1 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

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