The average number of heat wave days in 2019 rose by 82.6 per cent year-on-year to 157, according to the EnviStats India 2020 report released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
The report showed that the highest number of heat wave days were recorded in Rajasthan with 20 days, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand with 13 days each.
The report defines a heat wave as a "prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity."
The data also showed that 2019 recorded the third-highest number of heat wave days in the decade after 254 days in 2010 and 189 days in 2012. While 2018 recorded only 86 heat wave days, 2017 recorded 115 days.
Meanwhile, the number of average cold wave days also reported an increase. However, in this case, the latest data is for 2018. The year saw a rise of 55.2 per cent with 45 cold wave days, compared to 29 in 2017.
The heat waves resulted in 373 deaths in the country in 2019, compared to 26 in 2018. Furthermore, the report said that 3,740 people died from acute respiratory infection he highest in six years. The highest number of these deaths were reported in West Bengal with 732 death, followed by Uttar Pradesh at 699, Andhra Pradesh at 587 and Delhi at 492.
Meanwhile, in 2018, among the seven metropolitan cities, particulate matter size less than or equal to 10 µm was the highest in Delhi at 243. Delhi was followed by Ahmedabad at 236 and Mumbai at 166. In Delhi, particulate matter increased by 0.8 per cent year-on-year, while in Ahmedabad it increased by 96 per cent and Mumbai saw an increase of 9.9 per cent in 2018.