“March has been recorded as the warmest month in the last 60 years in north India,” said the NOAA report. Average global temperature in January-April was 13.3 degree Celsius, 0.69 degrees above the average recorded since 1880.
Three regions in the world — Canada, North Africa and South Asia — recorded average temperatures higher than the rest of the world.
The Indian Meteorological Department reported the maximum on Sunday touched 47 degrees in some places in Haryana — several degrees above normal for this time of the year.
The NOAA said the heat wave was a visible indication of climate change. Indian weather experts blamed it on EL Nino — the warming of ocean temperatures in the Pacific that disrupts weather around the world — but said climate change had caused a swifter increase in night temperatures.
“Records show that on average, night temperatures in north India have been 1-1.5 degree Celsius higher than previous years,” said Dr Krishna Kumar of the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
A hotter earth’s surface also meant Arctic sea ice — the global cooling agent — was melting faster. Satellite data showed snow cover was the fourth lowest on record since 1967, the NOAA said.
“January-April 2010 was the 34th consecutive year with above average temperatures,” the report said. The only exception was China, which recorded its wettest and coldest April since 1974.