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Why is North India reeling under a scorching heatwave and Bengaluru shivering in May?

The summer of 2022 has been breaking records. Northwest and central India experienced the hottest April in 122 years, with the mercury not dipping below 40 degrees Celsius for more than 40 days.

In May 2022, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted above the normal-maximum temperature in most parts of northwest and west-central India and some parts of northeast India. According to the IMD, heatwaves will hit south Haryana, Delhi, southwest Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra's Vidarbha region from May 8 to 9.

On the other hand, Bengaluru, the Garden city, has recorded the coldest May day in 50 years, as the mercury dropped a whopping 11 degrees Celsius on May 12. According to the IMD data, the maximum temperature was recorded at 23 degrees Celsius in the city. Due to the remnants of Cyclone Asani, Bengaluru is under a cool breeze.

While IMD has announced a yellow alert, warning of a heatwave in Delhi, Bengaluru was cooler than many hill stations in India, including Shimla and Mahabaleshwar. The news is going viral on social media; netizens are “already packing bags” for Bengaluru.


Weather alerts by the India Meteorological Department (IMD)

The IMD uses four colour codes for weather alerts; green (no action required), yellow (watch and stay updated), orange (be prepared), and red (take action).


What is a heatwave?

A heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius and is at least 4.5 notches higher than normal. According to IMD, when the deviation from room temperature exceeds 6.4 levels, a violent heatwave is generated.


The recent drift in the cycle of seasons and its extremes, such as a cold May and a deadly hot April, point towards the dilemma of climate change that surrounds India.

Climate Change

National Geographic defines climate change as “the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns." It is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs), human activities like pollution, deforestation, and a lack of sustainable development.

The effects of climate change can be seen in India. Temperatures have risen significantly, precipitation patterns have been disrupted, and the frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and cyclones has increased. Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are under the alert of “Cyclone Asani”.

The common man of rural India affected by climate change does not know the term "climate change". Instead, they identify it by terms such as floods, droughts, agricultural crises, and cyclones. These are repercussions of climate change and what they are experiencing. Climate change is a term used at international conferences by delegates, policy-makers, governments, and the upper-middle class. It is ironic that those most affected by climate change are unaware of what is causing their plight.


Photo source: Shailendra Bhojak/ PTI Photo



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