Climate Extremes


Tracking unseasonal temperature variations in cities around the globe and in India

Heatwaves in Europe, decade’s ‘coldest winter’ in Afghanistan, wildfires in Canada, and floods in India and China — the world has witnessed extreme weather events in 2023. Scientists and experts warn such extremes will continue to become more intense.

As countries grapple with the threats of climate change, we bring to you a daily tracker that lists cities in India and around the world which have been reeling under extreme weather.

The maps show cities experiencing either a warm spell or a cold spell, using temperature data collected from weather stations located at airports of these cities. If any place recorded unusually high temperature for six days in a row (three days in the case of India), it is said to be experiencing a warm spell. Similarly, if a city experienced a cooler-than-normal temperature, it is said to be under a cold spell, respectively.

The first section lists places around the world experiencing warm spells and cold spells, some of them potentially heat waves or cold waves. The next section identifies Indian cities that have been facing unseasonal temperatures, and the last section explains the method used to detect these climate change events.

Warm & Cold Spells Around The Globe

Places Experiencing Warm Spells

The maps shows places that have been experiencing unusually warmer temperatures for the past six days. Click toggle on right to display places witnessing cold spells.

Aktau in Kazakhstan, Elista in Russia, Shanghai in China are experiencing warm spells. Aktau recorded a maximum temperature of 38.0°C yesterday, with its maximum temperatures over the last six days falling in the top 10% of all maximum temperatures for this period. This means that Aktau is unusually warmer for this time of year.

Strongest Warm Spells Globally

Click toggle to switch to places with strongest cold spells.

Place Country Max Temp Yesterday (°C)
Aktau Kazakhstan 38.0
Elista Russia 37.0
Shanghai China 37.0
Changsha China 37.0
Shanghai China 36.0
Alta Floresta Brazil 36.0
Fukuoka Japan 36.0
Miyazaki Japan 36.0
Isla Margarita Venezuela 35.0
Iwakuni Japan 35.0

Pelly Island Nwt in Canada, Kivalina in United States, Skjern / Ringkobing in Denmark are experiencing cold spells. Pelly Island Nwt recorded a minimum temperature of -2.2°C yesterday, with its minimum temperature over the last six days falling in the bottom 10% of all minimum temperatures for this period. This means that Pelly Island Nwt is unusually cooler for this time of the year.

Warm & Cold Spells Across India

Indian Cities With Unusually Warmer Weather

The map shows selected places around India that have been experiencing unusually warmer weather for a day or more. Click toggle to display places witnessing unusually colder weather.

None of the Indian cities being observed seem to be experiencing warm spells or heat waves. No Indian city is experiencing a cold spell or cold wave at present.

The Method

To determine a warm spell or cold spell, we followed the methods of this project from the World Climate Research Programme.

The calculation involves recording the maximum and minimum temperature of cities around the world for the last few days. These are taken from automated weather stations at airports in these cities, stations that have been collecting such data for decades.

5:30 am 6:30 am 7:30 am 8:30 am 9:30 am10:30 am11:30 am12:30 pm 1:30 pm2:30 pm3:30 pm4:30 pmTimeTemperatureTimeTemperature32°C31°C31°C30°C30°C30°C29°C29°C28°C28°C27°C26°C 5:30 pm 6:30 pm 7:30 pm 8:30 pm 9:30 pm10:30 pm11:30 pm12:30 am 1:30 am2:30 am3:30 am4:30 am28°C29°C29°C30°C31°C31°C32°C32°C32°C33°C32°C32°CMax. Temp.Consider this list of hourly temperatures for a city on Aug. 8th. Let's take the maximum temperature.

These temperatures are then compared with historical data from 1991 to 2020.

If a city's maximum temperature is regularly at the high end of the range for maximum temperatures for this time of year, it's in a warm spell. And if a city's minimum temperature is regularly at the bottom end of the range for minimum temperatures for this time of year, it's in a cold spell.

Sources: Iowa Environmental Mesonet for recent temperature data, NOAA Global Surface Summary of the Day for historical data.

Graphic: Shijith Kunhitty