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 cautioned 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 northern and central India, “with no large change thereafter.” While heatwaves are common in India, especially in May and June, this year’s summer started earlier than usual, with high temperatures as early as March – the month’s average maximum temperatures were the highest in 122 years.

Early heatwaves have reached roughly 15 states this year, according to the Center for Science and Environment, including Himachal Pradesh in the north, which is known for its moderate temperatures. The temperature in India’s capital, Delhi, is projected to reach 44 degrees Celsius. The present heatwave, according to Naresh Kumar, a senior scientist at IMD, is caused by local atmospheric variables. Weak western disturbances from the Mediterranean were the main cause of low pre-monsoon rainfall across northwestern and central India. Anticyclones, which are high-pressure zones where air descends, caused hot, dry weather in regions of western India in March. The results can be seen.