The previous decade was the hottest in India’s recorded history, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) reported on Monday.
Over the course of the decade, annual temperatures were 0.36 degrees Celsius (0.65 degrees Fahrenheit) above the historical average, Al Jazeera reported. The past four decades have successively been the hottest in the country since the government began gathering records in 1901.
The IMD said that climate change had an “unmistakable” effect on the temperature increases. Temperatures have risen around the world over the past decade, with the hottest year on record occurring in 2016. The hottest month of all time, meanwhile, occurred in July 2019.
The World Meteorological Institute reported that temperature increases have been accelerating in recent years, with nearly 20% of all warming since the pre-industrial period occurring since 2015.
The world is warming largely due to the accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment from human activities, which trap heat from the sun that would otherwise be reflected back into outer space.
Warming temperatures pose many threats to humanity. Most obviously, they lead to heat waves that can put intense stress on the human body. A heat wave in France in the summer of 2019 led to an estimated 1,500 deaths.
Extreme heat waves are expected to become more common in the decades ahead, putting millions of people at risk.
In India, heat waves are especially dangerous because access to air conditioning is rare, while water shortages are common. A heat wave reaching 123 degrees Fahreinheit in New Delhi last year killed at least 36 people.
Higher temperatures also make natural disasters and droughts more common. In 2019, extreme weather killed an estimated 1,500 people across India alone.
As climate change intensifies in India, the country is struggling with widespread water shortages. The World Bank recently reported that India is the most likely country to run out of water in the years ahead.