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Heat Waves UPSC | General Studies 3 Environment

 Heat Waves in India:

Global warming, Urbanization, and EL Nino are major causes of Heat Waves in India. 

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) plays a vital role in weather forecasting including Heat Waves. 

As per the Indian Meteorological Department ( IMD), when the temperature reaches 40 degrees and above in plains areas and 30 degrees or more in hilly areas, then it is considered a Heat Wave. It is considered a "Severe Heat Wave" when the temperature reaches 46.4 degrees or more in the Plain region. 

As per estimates,

The summer temperature of Northern India has risen by 0.5 to 0.9 degrees centigrade on average since 1990.

The summer temperature of most of the geographical areas of India is expected to rise by 2 to 3.5 degrees centigrade between 2021 and 2050.

There is a sharp increase in the "Urban Heat Island Effect". The temperature of Urban areas is usually higher than the surrounding rural areas is known as the Urban Heat Island Effect. 

Therefore, Heat Waves are expected to be severe in the future.

Heatstroke ( negative human health), depletion of water resources, decrease in agriculture productivity, and increase in energy demand are major impacts of Heat Waves. 

Mitigation or solutions to Heat Waves:

The following are some mitigation measures for Heat Waves:

Urban Forestry and Greening in urban landscapes is a much-needed step to mitigate Heat Waves. 

At least seven trees for each urban people are a much-needed concept to tackle the heat wave.  

Expanding wetlands and restoring decaying ponds may help to ensure ecological functioning. 

The greater usage of permeable materials ( bricks jalis) in civil infrastructure and construction could enhance the natural landscape in urban areas.

Innovative technology and energy-efficient vehicles and factories are needed to minimize heat emissions.

Usage of public transport instead of private vehicles may reduce the emission of Green House Gases.

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