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Early-season heatwave grips India, causing worst energy crisis in 6 years

maximum 2-m air temperature for april 27 2022 f

Dangerous heatwave conditions are affecting vast swathes of India since mid-April, bringing temperatures 4.5 – 8.5 °C (8 to 15 °F) above average in east, central and northwest India.

  • The heatwave comes after the country recorded its hottest March on record.
  • The country as a whole recorded 8.9 mm (0.35 inches) of rainfall in March, which was 71% less than its long period average rainfall of 30.4 mm (1.19 inches). It was also the third-lowest precipitation in March since 1901 after 7.2 mm (0.28 inches) in 1909 and 8.7 mm (0.34 inches) in 1908.
  • An energy crisis is now affecting portions of the country as coal supplies have run out amid record consumption.
  • A change in temperatures is expected around May 4 with a cyclonic circulation system developing in the Andaman Sea followed by low pressure by May 5.

On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, a high of 45.1 °C (113.2°F) was reported at Barmer, West Rajasthan while many other localities recorded temperatures of 42 – 44°C (108 – 111°F).1

On Wednesday, April 27, the highest temperature in the country was recorded in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh at 45.9°C (114.6°F).

Gurugram logged an all-time high of 45.6 °C (114 °F) on Thursday, April 28, breaking the previous record of 44.8 °C (112.6 °F) set on April 28, 1979.

On the same day, Delhi recorded 43.5 °C (110.3 °F), marking its hottest April day in 12 years. Its maximum temperature of 43.7 °C (110.6 °F) was set on April 18, 2010.

In Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho registered 45.6 °C (114 °F), Nowgong 45.6 °C (114 °F), and Khargone 45.2 °C (113.3 °F), while in Maharashtra, Akola recorded 45.4 °C (113.7 °F), Bramhapuri 45.2 °C (113.3 °F) and Jalgaon 45.6 °C (114 °F).

India’s peak power demand in a day touched the all-time high of 204.65 GW on Thursday while various states warned they are lacking enough coal to maintain power production. Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, for example, said the national capital had only one day’s worth of coal supply left.2

maximum 2-m air temperature fo april 27 2022
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC.

This is leading to a serious energy crisis, with this year’s power outages the worst in more than 6 years.

From Jammu and Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh, Indians are facing power outages lasting from 2 to 8 hours or more.3

India is the world’s third-largest energy-consuming country, whose majority of energy demands are met by coal. This year’s crisis is exacerbated by prolonged early-season heatwaves and rising prices of coal.

RK Jenamani, a senior scientist at India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the heatwave, which is very intense today, will continue to persist for the next 24 to 48 hours. However, post that, temperatures are likely to drop.5

“As per the latest model projection, around May 4, a cyclonic circulation system will develop in the Andaman Sea. It’ll be followed by low pressure by May 5. It’s likely to further intensify. All these changes are likely to cause a drop in temperature,” Jenamani said.

This year, the country recorded its warmest March in 122 years with severe heatwave conditions across large swathes.

IMD attributed the heat to the lack of rainfall due to the absence of active western disturbances over north India and any major system over south India.

The country as a whole recorded 8.9 mm (0.35 inches) of rainfall in March, which was 71% less than its long period average rainfall of 30.4 mm (1.19 inches). It was also the third-lowest precipitation in March since 1901 after 7.2 mm (0.28 inches) in 1909 and 8.7 mm (0.34 inches) in 1908.

India’s worst heat waves occurred in 2015, leaving at least 2 081 fatalities.

“However, those heat waves developed closer to the start of summer in May and early June,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls said.6

References:

1 Early Season Heat Waves Strike India – EO – April 29, 2022

2 Heatwave in India Updates: Haryana Faces Up to 6 Hours of Cuts, Protests Outside Punjab Power Min’s Home; Relief Likely from May 2 – News18 – April 19, 2022

3 Why India Is Witnessing Worst Power Outage In Decades, All You Need To Know – Outlook India – April 29, 2022

4 Delhi under severe heatwave conditions after hottest March on record, India – The Watchers – April 9, 2022

5 Respite from heatwaves soon: IMD forecasts thunderstorms and rain in several states from May 2 – Times Now News – April 29, 2022

6 Temperatures to top 110 in New Delhi as searing heat wave bakes India – AccuWeather – April 28, 2022

Featured image credit: NASA/EO

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6 Comments

  1. The early season heatwave swept through India, causing the worst energy crisis in 6 years.
    Friday, April 29, 2022
    Quotes: “Hazardous heatwave conditions have gripped large areas of India since mid-April, bringing temperatures 4.5 to 8.5 °C (8 to 15 °F) above average in eastern, central and northwestern India.”
    The heat wave came after the country recorded its hottest March on record.
    The energy crisis is now affecting parts of the country as coal supplies have dried up amid record consumption.
    I am an active ecologist, the head of a group of physicists of seven people. Invite us to work in India, and together with Indian specialists we will perform the following work:
    Let us cool the whole territory of India to centuries-old temperature;
    We will restore the full flow of all rivers, and launch all hydroelectric power plants at full capacity.
    We will increase the productivity of productive lands and pastures.
    Parallel to the Ganges River from north to south, we will lay a canal and irrigate the territory of the Thar Desert. On both sides of the canal, we will rotate the planting of forests to destroy the carbon dioxide in the Indian air, and we will add fifty large farms each year.
    All of our work will be guaranteed for twenty-five years.
    Sincerely, the developer of environmental and economic programs, Viktor Rodin. Ukraine. Khmelnitsky NPP. Tel. Kyiv Star: 961336344. Email: dorosydos@gmail.com.
    — — —
    Жара в начале сезона охватила Индию, вызвав худший энергетический кризис за 6 лет.
    Пятница, 29 апреля 2022 г.
    Цитаты: «Опасные условия сильной жары охватывают обширные районы Индии с середины апреля, в результате чего температура на 4,5–8,5 ° C (от 8 до 15 ° F) выше средней в восточной, центральной и северо-западной Индии».
    Волна тепла пришла после того, как в стране был зафиксирован самый жаркий март за всю историю наблюдений.
    Энергетический кризис в настоящее время затрагивает часть страны, поскольку запасы угля иссякли на фоне рекордного потребления.
    Я – действующий эколог, руководитель группы инженеров-физиков из семи человек. Приглашайте нас на работу в Индию, и мы совместно с индийскими специалистами выполним следующие работы:
    Охладим всю территорию Индии до многовековой температуры;
    Восстановим полноводность всех рек, и запустим на полную мощность все гидроэлектростанции.
    Прирастим урожайность продуктивных земель и пастбищ.
    Параллельно реке Ганг с севера на юг проложим канал, и оросим территорию пустыни Тар. По обеим сторонам канала мы будем чередовать посадку лесонасаждений для уничтожения углекислого газа в воздухе Индии, и будем приращивать по пятьдесят крупных фермерских хозяйств в каждый год.
    На все свои работы мы будем обеспечивать гарантию по двадцать пять лет.

  2. High (and low) temperature records are nothing new. In India, April and May, known as pre-monsoon season, are typically the hottest months of the year when the region bakes endlessly. This heat wave is entirely a weather pattern issue, not a climate issue.

    The pressure pattern associated with La Niña conditions, which are currently presiding over the Pacific, has persisted longer than expected. The sea surface temperatures over the east and central Pacific Ocean become cooler-than-average during La Niña. This affects the trade winds flowing over the ocean surface through change in wind stress.

    The trade winds carry this weather disturbance elsewhere and affect large parts of the world. In India, the phenomenon is mostly associated with wet and cold winters. Therefore, the current effect of La Niña is completely unexpected.

    La Niña produced a north-south pressure pattern over India as expected during the last winter but it seems to be persisting in some form. The weird dust storm, the early deep depressions, one of which threatened to form a cyclone and the heatwaves are all part of this weird persistence.

    1. It’s a climate issue because the temperatures seen have not been seen historically. Neither has soil temperatures of 150F been seen on the continent. FYI, photosynthesis stops at air temps of 104F.
      If you were right, most of India would be a desert, because these temps would be seen all the time.
      So, regardless of your opinion, by definition, these are climatic changes.
      Definitions matter.

    1. Supposed to be quite the book. What I fear is that all climate scientist mid-course projections keep getting exceeded. If Ministry for the Future relies on projections that are a decade old, it’s probably now an improbable best-case scenario.

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