Day temperatures in the city are set to hit the 40° Celsius mark this April for the first time in eight years. The city recorded a temperature of 40.2° Celsius in April 2009.
Meteorologists have said the financial capital can also expect a much hotter summer this year, as against previous years.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) department released their weather forecast — Hot Weather Season (March to May) Outlook for 2017 — on Tuesday, which identified an average increase of 0.72 degree Celsius above normal, for both the minimum and maximum temperatures along the north Konkan region, including Mumbai. In 2016, the prediction and actual increase was confined to a 0.5-degree Celsius rise.
According to officials from IMD Mumbai, there is a possibility of a heat wave over Mumbai during the summer. “Looking at the maximum temperature this winter, we can clearly make out that the summer will be harsh and that temperatures will much above normal levels,” said Shubhangi Bhute, director, Regional Meteorological Centre, IMD Mumbai. “We expect the day temperature to rise 5 degrees Celsius above normal and to surpass the 40 degrees Celsius mark.”
Between January and February 2017, Mumbai already observed record-breaking day temperatures, with January 23 being the second-hottest January day in eight years, followed by February 18, which was the second-hottest February day this decade. The second week of February saw the maximum temperatures swing between 36 and 38 degrees Celsius, 6 to 8 degrees Celsius above normal.
“According to the forecast outlook, the four sub-divisions — Konkan, central Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada — in Maharashtra point towards 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius rise above normal from March to May. In all these areas, we inferred that the rise in temperatures will be higher than previous summers,” said DS Pai, director, long-range forecast, IMD.
In January, the World Meteorological Organisation declared l2016N the hottest year on record, with the global average temperatures about 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial period.
Private weather forecasting agency, Skymet, said a 1 degree Celsius average increase above normal is expected in Mumbai and its surrounding areas. “Weather models indicate there will be an average 1 degree Celsius increase. This is a significant shift, especially for a coastal city such as Mumbai,” said Jatin Singh, chief executive officer, Skymet. “Similar conditions were observed during February-March 1997 in Mumbai, when the day temperature crossed the 40 degree mark by mid-April and then again in 2009. We see that happening this year as well.”
Singh said the city and other areas in the Konkan belt need to make most of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy during the summer . “The agricultural sector will not benefit during the summer. If it continues during the next few months, we need to be careful and stock up before the monsoon by harnessing renewable sources of energy,” he said.
He said India needs to look at climate change as its single biggest security concern, the effects of which are already visible.