Global warming behind record March temperatures, Minister informs Lok Sabha

Temperatures above 4-6°C, the usual historical maximum, were experienced in many parts of the country

Temperatures above 4-6°C, the usual historical maximum, were experienced in many parts of the country

With India having registered its hottest March in 121 years, Science Minister Jitendra Singh said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that “global warming” was the cause.

“One of the reasons for the increase in temperature and the increase in heat waves is global warming, associated with the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The global average temperature has risen by about 1°C since the pre-industrial era. This magnitude and rate of warming cannot be explained solely by natural variations and must necessarily account for changes due to human activities. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, aerosols and changes in land use and land cover during the industrial period have significantly changed the composition of the atmosphere, and consequently the planetary energy balance, and are thus primarily responsible for the current climate change,” he said. in a written response to a question from Sougata Ray.

An all-time high

The average maximum temperature in March was an average of 33.1 degrees at a record high of about 1.8 degrees above normal compared to the reference period 1981-2010.

Temperatures in excess of 4-6°C, the usual historic maximum, were experienced in many parts of the country, and heat wave conditions were also prevalent from the third week of March, he noted.

Meteorologists have said the direct reasons for high temperatures were due to the absence of rainfall and sustained dry and hot westerly winds blowing from Balochistan, central Pakistan and the Thar Desert over northwest and central India. The western disturbances that bring rain from western Asia to India were also lackluster. These conditions are expected to last through most of April, especially in northwestern and central India.

The annual mean air temperature at the land surface, averaged over India in 2021, was 0.44 degrees Celsius above the long-term average (LPA) calculated from 1981-2010. The year 2021 was the fifth warmest year since the national registration in 1901.

Heat action plan

Since 2013, India’s Meteorological Department (IMD), in conjunction with local health departments, has started to release a heat action plan in many parts of the country to warn of heat waves and advise on measures to be taken on such occasions.

The National Disaster Management Agency and IMD worked with 23 states prone to high temperatures leading to heat wave conditions to develop heat action plans, the minister said.


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