Daily Hot Topic

Kolkata Heatwave: Breaking Records

GS-1 Mains 

  • Kolkata experienced a record-breaking heatwave in April 2024.
  • Key points:
    • Second-highest April temperature in 70 years recorded on April 25 (41.6°C).
    • Joint highest April temperature in 70 years recorded on April 29 (41.7°C).
    • Highest April temperature ever recorded on April 30 (43°C), just 0.3°C lower than the all-time record (1954).
    • Warmest April in a decade.
  • Possible Causes:
    • Continuous northwesterly dry winds.
    • Movement of moisture away from the Bay of Bengal.
    • Global warming.
    • El Nino phenomenon (disrupting weather patterns).
    • Reduced number of “norwesters” (cooling thunderstorms).
  • Impact:
    • Increased heat stress and health risks

Kolkata Heatwave: The Future Looks Bleak (AR6 Report, UN)

Future projections (worst-case scenario):

  • Highest temperature in Kolkata may reach 49.6°C by 2100 (compared to current record of 43.9°C).
  • Mean temperature may rise 4.5°C by 2100 (compared to pre-industrial era).
  • City may experience nearly 150 days above 35°C by 2100.


  • Global warming.
  • Urban heat island effect:
    • Reduced ventilation due to buildings.
    • Heat generation from human activities.
    • Heat absorption by concrete and building materials.
    • Limited vegetation.
  • Urbanization:
    • Kolkata has seen the highest rise in surface air temperature (2.7°C) among major cities (1950-2018).
    • Over 80% of warming linked to Kolkata itself.
    • Blue-green infrastructure (water bodies, greenery) is declining.


  • Increased extreme heat events and heatwaves.


  • Heat action plans.
  • Prioritize implementation in highly humid places like Kolkata.
  • Protect water bodies.
  • Increase green cover.
  • Embrace renewable energy.
  • Sustainable urban planning.
  • Collective action to combat climate change.


Source https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/it-has-been-a-sizzling-april-for-kolkata-combination-of-climate-change-urbanisation-pushing-city-beyond-tipping-point-95939

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