Extreme Heatwave in India | Why 2024 is the Hottest Year?

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In recent years, the world has witnessed unprecedented heat waves and extreme weather conditions, with record-breaking temperatures becoming the new normal. The summers of 2022, 2023, and 2024 have been particularly brutal, with each year setting new records for high temperatures. This article delves into the reasons behind these extreme weather events, focusing on the roles of global warming, climate change, and the El Niño phenomenon.

Extrema Heal wave

Record-Breaking Heat Waves

Summer 2022: The Hottest Summer Ever

The summer of 2022 was marked as the hottest summer in history, breaking a 122-year-old record in India. This set the stage for a series of increasingly severe heat waves in subsequent years.

Summer 2023: A Scorching Reality

In 2023, the northern hemisphere experienced what scientists declared the hottest summer in the last 2,000 years. The relentless heat led to significant disruptions and raised concerns about the long-term impacts of global warming.

The Unprecedented Heat of 2024

The year 2024 has been a continuation of this alarming trend. Each month from January to April set new records for the hottest months ever recorded. The last 11 months have been the hottest on record, with South India and Southeast Asia bearing the brunt of the extreme heat. Temperatures soared above 46°C in North India, with heat indexes reaching lethal levels in places like the Philippines, where it crossed 53°C.

Understanding the Causes

Global Warming and Climate Change

While global warming and climate change are the primary culprits behind the rising temperatures, they are not the only factors at play. Human activities have significantly increased greenhouse gas emissions, leading to higher global temperatures. However, there are other contributing factors to consider.

The Role of El Niño

El Niño, a natural climate cycle occurring every 5-7 years, significantly impacts global weather patterns. The phenomenon, formally known as El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), affects the distribution of warm and cold water in the Pacific Ocean. During an El Niño event, trade winds weaken, reducing the upwelling of cold water near South America and allowing warm water to dominate the surface. This disruption leads to higher temperatures and altered weather patterns worldwide.

Impacts of El Niño

  • Southeast Asia and Australia: El Niño causes higher temperatures and drier conditions, increasing the risk of heat waves and wildfires.
  • South America: The opposite effect occurs, with increased rainfall and a higher risk of floods, as seen in the devastating floods in Brazil this year.

The Urban Heat Island Effect

Urban areas often experience higher temperatures than their rural counterparts due to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Concrete, asphalt, and buildings absorb and retain heat, making cities significantly warmer. In places like Delhi, areas with dense construction can be up to 8°C hotter than greener areas with more trees.

Addressing the Heat: Local Solutions

Promoting Green Spaces

Increasing urban greenery by planting more trees and creating parks can mitigate the UHI effect. Trees provide shade and release moisture into the air, reducing overall temperatures.

Urban Planning and Infrastructure

Urban planning should prioritize reducing heat retention by incorporating reflective materials in buildings and roads. White roofs, for example, reflect sunlight and can reduce indoor temperatures by 2-3°C. Green roofs, which are covered with vegetation, provide insulation and reduce heat absorption.

Radiant Cooling Technologies

Radiant cooling, an energy-efficient technology, uses cold water pipes in walls to cool buildings. This method is not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly, reducing the need for air conditioning and lowering urban temperatures.

Encouraging Public Transport and Reducing Car Use

Promoting public transport and reducing car usage can significantly decrease urban heat. Cars contribute to heat through emissions and the heat generated by engines. Cities like Paris are leading the way by banning cars in certain areas, promoting cycling, and increasing green spaces to combat the UHI effect.

Historical Architectural Solutions

Incorporating traditional architectural designs, such as those seen in historical buildings in Dubai, can improve ventilation and reduce the need for air conditioning. Features like wind towers and water channels help circulate air and cool indoor spaces naturally.

The Future Outlook

The projections for future heat waves are grim. Studies suggest that by 2050, many regions will experience heat waves for 220 to 250 days a year. Immediate action is required to mitigate these effects and adapt to the changing climate. authorities, urban planners, and individualities must work together to execute justifiable results.


The extreme heat waves of recent years highlight the urgent need to address global warming and climate change. While natural phenomena like El Niño contribute to these conditions, human activities are the primary drivers. By implementing local solutions, such as increasing urban greenery, improving urban planning, and adopting energy-efficient technologies, we can reduce the impact of heat waves and create more livable cities. The time to act is now, as the future promises even more severe climate challenges.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of recent heat waves and the contributing factors, focusing on the role of El Niño and the Urban Heat Island effect. By understanding these causes and implementing practical solutions, we can better prepare for and mitigate the impacts of future heat waves.