Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

NASA Detects ‘Heat Islands’ Around Delhi Amid Soaring Temperatures

Since mid-March, India along with Pakistan has been engulfed by a persistent heatwave that has resulted in scores of fatalities, fires, increased air pollution, as well as lower crop production.
May 16, 2022
Heat Islands

In the midst of India’s unprecedented heatwave, equipment aboard NASA’s space station has recorded scorching temperatures in metropolitan areas near India’s capital New Delhi.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) on May 13 released an image on Twitter depicting Delhi’s ground temperatures at midnight on May 5. This photograph displays the urban and agricultural regions, northwest of Delhi (the big red patch in the bottom right seen in the image above), which are home to around 28 million people, according to a report from NASA. The picture comprises about 12,350 square kilometres.

According to research by meteorologists, one out of every eight people on Earth is forced to endure a deadly heatwave. As many as 1.5 billion people in some areas of India and Pakistan are sinking in heat furnaces. April was the hottest for India in 122 years and March also had record heat. At the same time, it was the hottest April for Pakistan in 61 years. Pakistan’s Jacobabad, which is already one of the hottest cities in the world, saw temperatures rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or 48 degrees Celsius. The night temperature has remained the same since the 90s.

As per the data collected by ECOSTRESS, cities were warmer than the surrounding countryside areas. The reason is expected to be increased human activity and the building materials that make up the cities. NASA has titled these comparatively hotter areas as “heat islands.”

The local weather forecast for Delhi released by the IMD on May 15 reported temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius at several weather stations in the NCR, tweeted Times of India. This included Lodhi Road, Jafarpur, Pitampura and Sports Complex. An IMD report specified heatwave to severe heatwave conditions over many parts of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on May 15.