India faces its longest heat wave ever
ECONOMY & POLICY

India faces its longest heat wave ever

The chief meteorologist for the government declared that the current heatwave in India is the longest it has ever been, but he also issued a warning that the country's temperatures will continue to rise. Since mid-May, a heatwave has engulfed parts of northern India, with temperatures rising to over 45 degrees Celsius.

Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the head of India's Meteorological Department (IMD), stated in an interview with the Indian Express daily that the ongoing spell of heat has been the longest, having been experienced for about 24 days across different parts of the country. He anticipated a decline in temperatures as the annual monsoon rains progress northward this month. However, Mohapatra cautioned that if precautionary or preventive measures are not taken, heatwaves will become more frequent, enduring, and intense.

Mohapatra noted that India, being the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2070, following the lead of most industrialised Western nations by two decades. Presently, the country heavily relies on coal for power generation. He attributed the escalating concentration of carbon monoxide, methane, and chlorocarbons to human activities, population growth, industrialization, and transportation mechanisms, emphasising the threat posed not only to the present generation but also to future ones.

According to scientific research, climate change is exacerbating heatwaves, making them longer, more frequent, and more intense. The recent heatwave in New Delhi matched the capital's previous record high temperature of 49.2°C (120.5°F) recorded in 2022.

As people sought relief from the sweltering conditions, the electricity grid struggled under a record peak power demand of 8,302 megawatts. On May 29, an automatic weather station in the Delhi suburb of Mungeshpur reported a high temperature of 52.9°C (127.2°F), although it was later revealed to be the result of a faulty sensor. Mohapatra explained that an expert committee was formed to investigate, which discovered issues with the sensor after examining readings for the subsequent two days. Mohapatra further mentioned that while the automatic weather stations are inspected every six months, disruptions caused by birds or monkeys could occur in between.      

The chief meteorologist for the government declared that the current heatwave in India is the longest it has ever been, but he also issued a warning that the country's temperatures will continue to rise. Since mid-May, a heatwave has engulfed parts of northern India, with temperatures rising to over 45 degrees Celsius.Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the head of India's Meteorological Department (IMD), stated in an interview with the Indian Express daily that the ongoing spell of heat has been the longest, having been experienced for about 24 days across different parts of the country. He anticipated a decline in temperatures as the annual monsoon rains progress northward this month. However, Mohapatra cautioned that if precautionary or preventive measures are not taken, heatwaves will become more frequent, enduring, and intense.Mohapatra noted that India, being the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2070, following the lead of most industrialised Western nations by two decades. Presently, the country heavily relies on coal for power generation. He attributed the escalating concentration of carbon monoxide, methane, and chlorocarbons to human activities, population growth, industrialization, and transportation mechanisms, emphasising the threat posed not only to the present generation but also to future ones.According to scientific research, climate change is exacerbating heatwaves, making them longer, more frequent, and more intense. The recent heatwave in New Delhi matched the capital's previous record high temperature of 49.2°C (120.5°F) recorded in 2022.As people sought relief from the sweltering conditions, the electricity grid struggled under a record peak power demand of 8,302 megawatts. On May 29, an automatic weather station in the Delhi suburb of Mungeshpur reported a high temperature of 52.9°C (127.2°F), although it was later revealed to be the result of a faulty sensor. Mohapatra explained that an expert committee was formed to investigate, which discovered issues with the sensor after examining readings for the subsequent two days. Mohapatra further mentioned that while the automatic weather stations are inspected every six months, disruptions caused by birds or monkeys could occur in between.      

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