As temperatures rise, India’s weather agency has issued a severe heatwave warning, putting millions of lives and livelihoods at risk. On April 27, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded state chief ministers that “temperatures are rising rapidly in the country, and rising much earlier than usual.” The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts a steady rise in maximum temperatures of 2-4 degrees Celsius across most of northwestern and central India, with “no large change thereafter”. While heatwaves are usual in India, especially in May and June, this year’s summer started early, with high temperatures as early as March – the month’s average maximum temperatures were the highest in 122 years. During the month, heat waves began to appear.

Early heatwaves this year have struck roughly 15 states, according to the Center for Science and Environment, including the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, which is known for its moderate temperatures. The temperature in Delhi, the capital, is projected to reach 44 degrees Celsius. The present heatwave, according to Naresh Kumar, a senior scientist at IMD, is due to local atmospheric variables. Weak western disturbances – storms that originated in the Mediterranean region – were the main cause of minimal pre-monsoon rainfall across northwestern and central India. Anticyclones, which are areas of high atmospheric pressure where the air descends, brought hot, dry weather to parts of western India in March. The results can be seen. Farmers say the unexpected temperature rises have harmed their wheat harvest, which might have worldwide implications given supply bottlenecks caused by the Ukraine conflict.