The India Meteorological Department (IMD) turned 134 on Thursday. And it seemed as befuddled as an entity that old might be expected to be.
The ‘thing’ confounding the Met is the last 12 months’ erratic weather: first, an unusually long winter, then a rather cool summer, followed by a heavier- than-expected monsoon and now, a rather warm winter.
December of 2008 was the fifth warmest in the last 107 years. January, which is usually the coldest month, has also been more than usually warm in 2009.
The IMD wants to study the pattern more before declaring the changed weather pattern is here to stay.
“We will not jump the gun saying it is climate change. We need to study the patterns more, which we are doing,” said Ajit Tyagi, Director General, IMD, after the Foundation Day function on Thursday.
In the last decade, eight of the 10 coldest days have occurred in the first half of January. At this time, last year, Delhi was reeling under a cold wave with temperatures plummeting to 2.6 degrees, 2 degrees and then even 1.9 degrees Celsius. This winter, the mercury has not dipped below 4 degrees Celsius. In fact, nine of the first 15 days saw warmer-than-normal temperatures. Even on the other six days, the fall from normal was marginal.
“The above-normal temperatures can be attributed to change in wind patterns, which is based on Western Disturbances. The warm nights have been mostly caused by approaching Western Disturbances (a wind system),” said SC Bhan, Director of the Safdarjung unit of IMD.
If this trend continues, this could well be one of the warmest winters in Delhi.
In the past one year, Delhi saw a remarkably cool summer, with maximum temperatures rarely crossing the signature 40-degree Celsius mark.
The previous winter had extended till March, making it one of the coolest ever. In monsoon, on the other hand, rainfall was around 40 per cent in excess of the expected, normal amount.
The Met predicts Friday will be warmer, with the minimum rising to 10 degrees Celsius and the maximum at 24 degrees — both three degrees above normal.