An intense heat wave in mid and late April 2022 resulted in temperatures 4.5 to 8.5°C (8 to 15°F) above normal in the east, central and southern northwest India, just weeks after the country recorded its hottest March since the country’s meteorology. department began keeping records over 120 years ago.
On April 27, 2022, the highest temperature in the country, 45.9°C (114.6°F), was recorded at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. The day before, a high of 45.1C (113.2F) was reported at Barmer in western Rajasthan in the northwest, according to India’s meteorological department. Many other localities recorded temperatures of 42-44°C (108-111°F).
The map above shows modeled air temperatures on April 27, 2022. It is derived from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and depicts air temperatures 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above- above ground.
The effects of the heat wave include heat-related illnesses, poor air quality, little rainfall, and reduced crop yields. Additionally, demand for electricity has increased and coal stocks have plummeted, leaving the country with its worst power shortage in more than six years. In the northern regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, mountain snow is melting rapidly. Additionally, more than 300 large forest fires were burning across the country on April 27, according to the Forest Survey of India. Almost a third of them were in Uttarakhand.
Meteorologists said a bulge in the jet stream and a high-pressure dome kept a dry, unusually warm air mass over the country. Heat wave conditions are expected to intensify in the coming days and persist for at least a week.
Heat waves are common in India during spring and early summer, especially May, which is usually the hottest month. But they are often relieved by the start of the monsoon season from late May to September. The number of spring heat waves has increased, according to India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences, as 12 of the country’s 15 hottest years on record have occurred since 2006. A heat wave in June 2015 killed more than 2,000 people.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from NASA’s GSFC Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. Story by Sara E. Pratt.