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India’s Sweltering Heat Wave: Causes, Impacts, and Expected Duration

Today, people of India are terribly affected by the terrible heat wave that has swept over vast areas of the country, where some of new temperature records are being broken leading to the hardships of local residents. The heatwave is more than a meteorological occurrence; temperatures anywhere from 40 degrees Celsius is experienced so far in few states including Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh; worst still the trend is expected to continue in the near future.

The Cause

The heat wave is due to the delay of the monsoon, which comes earlier and thus reduces the normal summer temperatures. Part of the delay is caused by the El Niño phenomenon that warms the Indian Ocean and multiscales Spain and West Africa to the cooler Central America and the North. More importantly, climate change is increasing the persistence as well as the severity of such heatwaves making them, thus, last longer and more frequent.

The Impact

The present heat wave has a wide range of effects, which has impacted everyone. It creates serious health threats; specifically, to the teenagers, children, and people with some chronic diseases, which results in heat strokes or dehydration amidst the long heat waves and spikes in temperatures. The convective weather also impacts the daily routine: children might have to adjust their school schedules and workers might find it very difficult to work outdoors. To further aggravate the situation, agriculture, which is the fundamental source of the country’s economy and food security, is at the receiving end of grim heat waves which reduce crop productivity.

Besides the social burdens, economic consequences are also bad, since the peak electricity demands build up to a record high, mainly due to such things as use of air conditioners and cooling devices, which partly lead to power shortages in certain spots. It not only can change how individuals use residences but is also detrimental to how businesses and essential services operate.

How long will it last?

As for the duration, meteorological experts predict that the heat wave could persist for at least another week, with some relief expected as the monsoon advances. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasts that monsoon rains are likely to begin in the southern part of India by the end of May and gradually cover the rest of the country by mid-June.

In response, state governments and local authorities have been preparing heat action plans and ensure adequate water supply and healthcare facilities to mitigate the impact of the heat wave. Public awareness campaigns are also crucial to educate the population on how to cope with such extreme weather conditions.

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