[Answered] Heat waves have occurred earlier than expected time in India. What are the reasons behind winter heat waves in India?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain some reasons behind winter heat waves in India.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Heat waves are defined based on the temperature thresholds over a region in terms of actual temperature or its departure from normal. According to the IMD, a region has a heat wave if the maximum temperature crosses 45°C (or 37°C at a hill station). IMD warned that the maximum temperatures over northwest, west, and central India would be 35 °C higher than the long-term average.

Reasons behind winter heat waves in India:

  • Weak Western Disturbances: Western disturbance is the factor that keeps the temperature in control during February and March. However, this year, western disturbances have been weak due to which wind is lacking moisture for adequate rainfall. It is causing dry spells over the plains and subdued rainfall or snowfall over hills.
  • Climate change:In terms of climate change, the Middle East is warming faster than other regions near the equator, and it is acting as a source of warm air that blows toward India.
  • Anti-cyclone formation:The anticyclone is forming over the north-eastern part of the Arabian Sea, which has now moved over southwest Rajasthan. Due to this anticyclone, hot and dry winds from Balochistan, South Sindh, and Thar Desert are reaching northwest India as well as Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
  • Possibility of El Nino Year:The last three years have been La Nia years. Scientists have predicted a high likelihood that this year will be an El Nino year. It has a significant impact on weather and climate patterns and is linked to drought and poor monsoons in India. This may also contribute to a winter heat wave in India.
  • Air flowing in from the northwestrolls in over the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, so some of the compression also happens on the leeward side of these mountains, entering India with a bristling warmth.
  • Lapse rate: the rate at which temperatures cool from the surface to the upper atmosphere – is declining under global warming. In other words, global warming tends to warm the upper atmosphere faster than the air near the surface. This in turn means that the sinking air is warmer due to global warming, and thus produces heat waves as it sinks and compresses.

The solution to climate change lies in understanding the impact of climate change in our life and taking steps to achieve climate resilience. Urban greening can help to cool down cities and towns.

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