A recent study by researchers from the University of Hyderabad found that heat waves have become more common in summer while cold waves are less common in winter in India. The study was conducted using temperature data from 1970 to 2019, and the team found that days with anomalously higher temperatures are increasing every year during summer, while the days with anomalously lower temperatures are decreasing every year during winter. Heat wave events are increasing at the rate of 0.6 events per decade, while cold wave events are decreasing at the rate of 0.4 events per decade.
The study also found that heat waves are more common over the arid and semi-arid climatic regions, while cold waves are less common over the same region. The researchers compared current-generation computer models used to predict future climate with India Meteorological Department observations and found that the models fail to capture observed spatial features in the trend in the frequency of occurrence of heat waves and cold waves in India.
The study highlights the need for a better understanding of the factors governing these extreme events and their representations in the models over the Indian region. Human-caused climate change has caused roughly a 1 degree Celsius increase in global average surface temperature since the pre-industrial era, worsening the frequency, intensity, and impacts of some weather events such as heat waves and cold waves.