In the first half of June 2014, news accounts described an extreme heatwave in India, as well as the late and somewhat weak arrival of the seasonal monsoon. Air temperatures in New Delhi climbed as high as 48° Celsius (118° Fahrenheit) and stayed above 43°C (110°F) for seven days. Satellite data offer some insights on what was happening on the ground.
The maps above show land surface temperature (LST) anomalies for southern Asia from June 2–9 and June 10–17, 2014. LST anomalies are not absolute temperatures; instead, they show how much the land surface was heated above or below the average. The darkest reds show areas where the ground was as much as 12°C (22°F) above the norm from 2001–2010; blues show areas that were below normal; and grays depicts areas with incomplete data (usually due to excessive cloud cover). Read more