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Seasonal Outlook for Hot Weather Season: IMD

In News

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an updated Seasonal outlook for the hot weather
    season (April to June) 2024.

About

  • Above-normal temperatures are likely to be recorded over most parts of the country.
  • During the April May June hot weather seasons, above-normal heatwave days are likely to occur over most parts of the south peninsula, central India, east India, and plains of northwest India.
  • The El Niño however is likely to weaken during the upcoming season and eventually turn ‘neutral’.
  • Some models have even predicted the possibility of La Niña conditions developing during the monsoon, which can intensify rainfall across South Asia, particularly in India’s northwest and Bangladesh.

Issues and Concerns

  • Above-normal maximum and minimum temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses in people as well as affect agricultural output, cause water scarcity, increase energy demand, and affect ecosystems and air quality.
  • The announcement comes even as India is already struggling to keep up with its power demand, which increases significantly during the summer season.
  • India’s hydroelectricity output fell at the steepest pace in at least 38 years in the year ending March 31, 2024.
  • Hydroelectric output will possibly remain low in the coming months as well, leading to a greater dependence on coal at a time when India has, in its Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, compared to the 2005 level.
What is a heat wave?

– Qualitatively, a heat wave is a condition of air temperature that becomes fatal to the human body when exposed.

– Quantitatively, it is defined based on the temperature thresholds over a region in terms of actual temperature or its departure from normal.

– Heat waves in India are typically recorded between March and June and tend to peak in May.

Criteria

– The IMD declares a heat wave if the maximum temperature of a weather station reaches at least 40 degrees C in the plains and at least 30 degrees C in hilly regions, with a departure of around 4.5-6.4 degrees C from the normal maximum temperature.

– The IMD can also declare a heat wave if the actual maximum temperature crosses 45 degrees C, and a ‘severe heat wave’ if it crosses 47 degrees C.

India Meteorological Department (IMD)

– It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

– It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting, and seismology.

– It is also one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organisation.

– IMD releases the long-range forecast in two stages in April and June.