A girl with her face covered with a scarf to beat the heat in Gurgaon on Friday. (PTI)
April 21: Twelve of the world's 15 hottest towns on Friday lay in India where day temperatures crossed 45 degrees, the global weather analysis website El Dorado said tonight.
Churu in Rajasthan recorded the highest temperature in India of 46.5°C over the 24 hours that ended at 8.30pm IST, the website said, placing Churu at third hottest worldwide below Nawabshah in Pakistan at 49.3°C and Kisumu in Kenya at 48.4°C.
The India Meteorological Department has predicted that there will be "no significant change" in the maximum temperatures in north India over the next 24 hours.
The other Indian towns in the hot zone are Banda, Ganganagar, Bikaner and Phalodi in Rajasthan, Narnaul and Hisar in Haryana, Bramhapuri and Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, Nowgong in Madhya Pradesh and Orai in Uttar Pradesh. All recorded temperatures of 45°C or higher.
In 2016, Phalodi had set a new record for India with a temperature of 51°C on May 19, according to a United Nations report.
"According to the records, this has been the trend for quite some time. Since 1900, the average Indian temperature has increased by 1.2 degree Centigrade which is above the global increase rate" said Chandra Bhusan, a climate expert from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Bhusan said that India should start to adapt to this trend of warming.
"Due to the influence of westerly wind and lack of moisture, the northern part of India along with Pakistan has been suffering heat waves which have pushed temperatures up considerably," observed G.C. Debnath, a scientist in the IMD.
According to IMD sources, heat wave conditions (either an increase of 4.5°C or more over normal temperature or attaining 45°C) have been ongoing in a few areas of "Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and north Rajasthan apart from isolated areas in Haryana, Delhi, east Uttar Pradesh, west Madhya Pradesh , Jharkhand and Odisha".
The IMD weather forecast states that there will be "no significant change in maximum temperature over north west India during next 24 hours".
"It is unusually hot this year in Rajasthan, apparently hotter than the earlier years," stated Arijit Banerjee, a senior Rajasthan government official, from Jaipur.
India, like the rest of the world, has been experiencing a steady rise in temperature over the past decade and experts link the trend with burgeoning green house gas levels, particularly that of carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.