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Weather gods leave weatherman wondering

P. Sunderarajan

Delhi, Shimla among many cities that registered record warmth this past month



BLOW HOT, BLOW COLD: The picturesque hill station of Shimla, seen here under snow in the first week of January, went on to record some of its warmest days later in the month.

NEW DELHI: Even as winter is on its way out, the India Meteorological Department came out with a report on Wednesday revealing that this past month was a month of record-breaking warmth in several parts of the country, including the two popular hill stations of Shimla and Mukteswar in North India.

Shimla took the cake with a whopping departure of 11 degrees Celsius from the normal maximum temperature on the 21st of January and of 12 degrees Celsius on the 27th, which took the temperatures to 20.7 degrees and 20.9 degrees respectively. The previous record for the hill station was 19.5 degrees, registered two years ago, on January 27, 2007.

Mukteswar, near Nainital, recorded a maximum departure of 13 degrees from normal on January 23. But the “feat” could not make it to the record books as the temperatures still fell short of its previous record by a slight margin of 0.2 degree Celsius.

Delhi could also not escape the grip of the “warmth wave”, recording an average temperature of 15.3 degrees and a mean minimum temperature of 8.9 degrees for the month. It was the highest since 1990 for both categories.

The mean monthly maximum temperature for the Capital was, however, a tad better at 21.7 degrees. It was the second highest in the past 19 years.

In all, 31 meteorological stations registered record-breaking warmth in January. The list includes Dehra Dun, Allahabad, Bhopal, Sagar, Ranchi, Raipur, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, Pune, Visakhapatnam, Nizamabad, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Mahabaleshwar, Yeotmal, Akola, Guna, Jagdalpur and Daltonganj.

According to the IMD report, mean maximum temperatures of the month were above normal by two degrees or more over Himachal Pradesh, north Andhra Pradesh, Konkan and Goa, Orissa, south Madhya Pradesh and parts of Kashmir, apart from Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, Marathwada, Manipur and Nagaland.

The mean minimum temperatures of the month, in turn, were above normal by two degrees or more over many parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Gangetic West Bengal, Madhya Maharahstra, Vidarbha, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

January 27 may well go down as a red letter day in the annals of the IMD as on that day alone a dozen stations broke their earlier records, such as Raipur, with a maximum of 35 degrees Celsius, which was about 2.8 degrees above the earlier record of 33.2 degrees registered on January 29, 2003. On the 25th and 26th, 11 stations surpassed their records and on the 29th eight stations.

Is it all because of global climate change? Are the effects of global warming already in? A senior meteorologist at IMD ruled out any link to climate change. “What has happened is only a freak one-year event. For global climate change, there has to be a long-term trend. ”

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