• Monday, March 20, 2023


After hottest February in over a century, India set to witness heat waves

By: Shubham Ghosh

Life in India may experience heat waves between March and May, especially in the key wheat-producing states in its central and northern parts, the weather office said on Tuesday (28).

India recorded its highest-ever maximum temperature in February and a heat wave for the second consecutive year could harm yields of wheat, rapeseed and chickpeas and jeopardise the government’s action to curb food inflation, Reuters reported.

Soaring temperatures could also increase the consumption of power above supplies during the summer.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) cautioned in a statement, “Enhanced probability of occurrence of heat wave during March to May season is likely over many regions of Central and adjoining Northwest India.”

March is an important month for the maturity of crops that are sown in winter and the prediction of higher temperatures during this time has left traders worried.

A Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading establishment told Reuters, “Wheat crop has already been witnessing stress due to higher temperature. Warmer March would definitely lead to yield loss.”

In a year, India grows only one wheat crop, with planting in October and November and harvesting from March.

A heat wave hurt India’s wheat production last year, forcing the world’s second-largest producer to ban exports.

The country saw an unusually hot February this year with the average maximum temperature reaching above 29 degree Celsius, the highest since 1901 when the IMD began keeping records. The weather office also said that India saw 68 per cent lower rainfall than normal in the month that just ended.

In 2022, government officials warned that India could witness more frequent heat waves in future.

“Temperatures have already touched unusual highs at some places in the country,” the country’s health ministry said in a letter, seen by Reuters, which was sent to all states and union territories on Tuesday.

The government has also asked health departments across the country to implement “heat-related health action plans”.

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