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Asia Minute: India has been sweltering through March and April

India Heat Wave 041122
Manish Swarup/AP
Tourists and commuters buy drinking water on a hot day in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 11, 2022. An unusually early heat wave has brought more triple-digit temperatures to a large swath of India’s northwest, raising concerns that such extreme weather conditions could become the new normal. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Parts of India have been suffering through record heat in recent weeks. Extreme temperatures have become more of a pattern across the subcontinent in the past several years — and scientists say climate change is definitely playing a role.

Temperatures at the end of this week are dropping into the 30s across northwest India.

That’s Celsius — meaning 39 degrees is 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

And that’s definitely an improvement from readings of about 108 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week.

The Punjabi language news channel PTC News quotes a senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department as saying the situation has been made worse by a stretch of 50 days without rain.

It’s the peak of the summer across India now — the hottest months are April, May and June.

After that, the monsoon rains bring much-needed water — and lower temperatures.

But over the past 10 years or so, summer heatwaves have been coming earlier — with deadly results.

The Associated Press talked about that trend with Vimal Mishra of the Water and Climate Lab at the Indian Institute of Technology.

Mishra said, “If you are looking for the clearest signal of climate change in India, then heat waves are a classic example.”

He added, “They are unavoidable and will occur more frequently.”

For the month of March, the federal government reports the average temperature across the country was more than 91 degrees Fahrenheit — the hottest March since India began keeping temperature records in 1901.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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