heat waves

HEAT WAVES | What You should know?

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has recently forecasted the “heatwave to severe heatwave conditions” over northwest, central and adjoining peninsular India.

HEAT WAVES | What You should know?

Source | The Hindu


GS Paper I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location – changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.



heat waves

Key Takeaways

  • Many parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra have also observed increase in temperatures above 42°C, triggering heatwave conditions.
  • Heat waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July.

Read More: Ecologically Sensitive Areas of Western Ghats


Context: India Meteorological Department (IMD) has recently forecasted the “heatwave to severe heatwave conditions” over northwest, central and adjoining peninsular India along with heavy rain over northeast India.

  • Many parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra have also observed increase in temperatures above 42°C, triggering heatwave conditions.
  • The heat wave has been observed due to dry northwesterly winds prevailing over northwest and central India.

What all you need to know about Heat Waves?

A heat wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western and South Central parts of India.

  • Heat waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July.
  • Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becoming increasingly frequent globally due to climate change.


What is the Criteria for Heat Waves?

  • The heat wave is considered when the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C for Plains and at least 30°C for Hilly regions.
  • If the normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40°C, then an increase of 5°C to 6°C from the normal temperature is considered to be heat wave condition.
  • Further, an increase of 7°C or more from the normal temperature is considered as severe heat wave condition.
  • If the normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40°C, then an increase of 4°C to 5°C from the normal temperature is considered to be heat wave condition. Further, an increase of 6°C or more is considered as severe heat wave condition.
  • Additionally, if the actual maximum temperature remains 45°C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature, a heat wave is declared.

What are the possible health Impacts of Heat Waves?

  • The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.
  • It also causes heat cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating.
  • The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.

What you should know about India Meteorological Department (IMD)?

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.
  • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
  • IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica. Regional offices are at Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Pune.
  • IMD is also one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organization.
  • It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.


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