One of the unpleasant events you as a foreign traveler, will encounter on your first visit to this country is the burning heat in the air. Sometimes it might get unbearable, especially in the summer months. Months of May and June are considered the hottest, although nowadays it feels like the warm ambiance of summer stays long until late October.
Increasing Heat Of India
The unfortunate thing is, with each passing year the heat becomes increasingly more pronounced. No wonder why most foreign travelers (mostly from western countries) don’t prefer to visit India in the summertime.
I don’t particularly blame them for being spoiled by their comforting climate, since we Indians are now quite frustrated as well with the excessive summer heat that is showing no sign of reducing. This made me think, what makes India so freaking hot? Even though India doesn’t directly come under the list of hottest countries in the world, yet there is something else that makes it responsible for the country’s ever-growing hot climate.
In this post, I’m going to explore the actual reasons behind the burning heat of Indian weather and the future of its climate pattern. But before we move on, let me inform you that I am by no means an expert. Therefore please read this post as my personal notes that I concluded while researching on the internet.
Is India A Hot Country?
Generally speaking, you can classify India as a hot country with only a few exceptions of the northern states, since Indian climate conditions vary from region to region. The northwest regions of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir – and Assam, Sikkim etc. from the northeast are considerably much cooler than other states.
But don’t be fooled thinking the weather of those remaining states is always hot either, all 12 months a year. Nope, actually this is a myth many people often hang on to. As most parts of India fall under the tropical region, its climate is driven by six main seasons, where only the summer season gets excessively hot – not always, but sometimes.
However, people can now feel the increased heat in recent years due to the overall increase in the world’s temperature. Although it had never gone to a point where we could simply put India on the list of hottest countries as a whole. A recent report published by the MoES (Union ministry of earth sciences) said the average surface temperature of India has risen by 0.7°C from 1910 to 2018.
Pollution and rapid urbanization are making the climate hotter than usual. Sometimes the temperature goes quite high, above 45°C in the peak of summertime. Another misconception I hear a lot is that the southern part of India (or, south India) is the hottest.
Which is again a wrong perception. I think people having darker skin from those regions are responsible for such beliefs. For instance, Saudi Arabia and other middle-east countries also fall under a hot climate range, yet their skin tone is much lighter. So dark people invariably live in hot weather is not always true.
Keeping that aside, the southern part of India has a dynamic coastal climate since it is surrounded by two of the world’s biggest oceans all around. The Bay of Bengal to the east and the famous Indian ocean to the south. In other words in these regions, you would experience a warmer summer and a very pleasant winter. To your surprise, winter often requires a blanket at night.
Anyhow, the hotness you feel is because of the high humidity of those regions with exception of Hyderabad, as the amount of humidity here is much lower than in other neighboring states. So if we conclude, the Indian climate as a whole is not unified. Generalizing its weather as hot wouldn’t be right.
Is India The Hottest Country In The World?
India is no way near on the list of the hottest countries in the world. This is simply a misconception and often asked by new travelers before coming here. I get it, the news headlines you read online or see on TV many times talking about the deaths because of extreme heat in summertime force you to speculate such thoughts. For instance, 2020 is recorded as the hottest year ever recorded globally in the past hundred years.
Yet nowhere in India, the heat hasn’t crossed the limit tagging it as a threat to human survival. While the news is true, India still has not put its name in the list of hottest countries, at least not for now. A country located in West Africa, called Burkina Faso is the hottest country in the world with an average yearly temperature of 29°C.
What Makes India So Freaking Hot?
There are a lot of logical reasons that explain the growing heat of the Indian weather. However, I would like to mention the most fundamental causes that are often talked about by scientists.
Global Warming – We all know at this point global warming is causing the steady rise of weather temperature not only in India but other nations too, but ‘how’ isn’t clear.
High Humidity – High humidity is also playing a part in the puzzle of India’s extreme summer hotness. In 2015, the common reason for most heatstroke in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana was due to the fusion of high heat and high humidity.
Many scientists warn about this lethal combination of heat and humidity that has emerged as a major source of concern in many countries of southeast Asia, including the southern part of India as well.
Rapid Urbanization – India is urbanizing at a bullet speed as a whopping 34% of the total population of India now lives in cities, 14% of increase since 1950. This is an unprecedented level of urbanization in human history. This obviously leaves its effect on India’s climate pattern.
Deforestation – Reducing the forest cover of the country has been a major concern for the past several decades. The impact of this rapid deforestation can directly be seen in the changes in the recent monsoon pattern. Now there are many reasons for the rapid expansion of deforestation that India is seeing, a few of them are — the need for agricultural land, commercial logging, mining, increase in population, etc.
Industrial Revolution – As India’s trying to compete with China for being a giant global hub for the manufacturing sector, forest land acquisition & the pollution caused by large-scale industrial construction have increased in the last several years.
Would Heat Become Unbearable In The Future?
To answer the question first we need to have a clear understanding of a term called wet-bulb temperature. It’s a scale measuring the level of heat and humidity in the air, and if this temperature increases to a certain point our human body then can no longer cool itself.
A six-hour labor-intensive work under direct sunlight can cause severe injuries or death. To put it simply, an increase in wet-bulb temperature makes places inhabitable for humans. As the global average temperature increased a bit in the last century, heat waves have become common in many parts of India, including the major crop-producing states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
Scientists now have warned that even a slight increase of 1.5°C in global temperature could severely impact the southern part of India making heat-related death a common thing.
However, don’t worry too much as it’s just a prediction. We have plenty of time and the good news is a lot of governments around the world are becoming aware of the possible future devastation. They are working hard to make policies that are more environmentally friendly.