(New Delhi) India’s current heatwave is the country’s longest on record, the head of the Indian Meteorological Department said Monday, warning of increasingly relentless temperatures.  

Parts of northern India have been in the grip of an exceptional heatwave since mid-May, with temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.  

“This is the longest (heat) period as it lasted for around 24 days in different parts of the country,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the country’s leading weather expert, said in an interview with the Indian Express daily.

The mercury is expected to fall as monsoon rains move north in late June, but Mohapatra warned that these harsh conditions are likely to be repeated in the future.  

“Heat waves will be more frequent, longer lasting and more intense if precautionary or preventive measures are not taken,” he said.  

India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. The country has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2070, two decades after most industrialized Western countries.  

For now, India is heavily dependent on coal for its electricity generation.

“Human activities, population increase, industrialization and transportation are leading to increased concentrations of carbon monoxide, methane and chlorocarbons,” Mohapatra said.

“We are putting not only ourselves, but future generations, at risk.”  

Scientific research has shown that climate change is causing longer, more frequent and more intense heat waves across the planet.  

India’s latest heatwave saw temperatures in New Delhi equal the previous record in the capital of 49.2°C, recorded in 2022.  

On May 29, an automatic weather station in Mungeshpur, a suburb of Delhi, recorded a record temperature for India of 52.9°C, but the recorded temperature was due to a faulty sensor, authorities said the following.  

Elsewhere in Delhi, 17 other stations reached a maximum of 49°C on the same day.