Is Delhi bracing for a warmer winter?
While the Met department is reluctant to hold forth such a prediction, several experts in meteorology agree that winter could be less nippy.
The artificial ‘heat islands’ in the city have raised the ‘felt-temperature’ in Delhi’s microenvironment by eight to nine degrees Celsius over the past few years, says a study by IIT Delhi’s Centre for Atmospheric Science (CAS).
“As result, winters have been becoming warmer. The effect will be felt this winter also,” said Dr Manju Mohan of (CAS). “Delhi has seen increase in forest cover but neighbourhood parks have become less green, creating heat islands.”
The Met department’s data shows that over the years, winter’s average temperature has seen a slight rise, said BP Yadav, Director and spokesman of the India Meteorological Department.
“While we do not get into speculation about the coming months, there is nothing to suggest that temperatures will be around zero degrees Celsius in Delhi.”
The IMD looks at pressure patterns in the region, wind-patterns and snowfall/rain activity in the nearby regions to come up with a forecast on winter.
“There may be daily fluctuations, sometimes wide variations in the temperatures, which are normal,” he said.
As per IMD’s data, so far the winter has been cooler than last year.
Appliances to blame
But irrespective of meteorological conditions, heat-generating devices like airconditioners, generators, refrigerators and increased built-up area in and around the city have increased the winter’s temperatures, the IIT study says.
“Now there are no rural areas or open spaces. Every place is like the city centre. Such areas cause activities that emit and accumulate heat and raise the ambient temperature,” said Dr Mohan.
The minimum temperature on Monday was three degrees warmer than normal at 12 degrees Celsius. The maximum was a normal 24 degrees Celsius.
On Sunday, the minimum temperature — recorded at dawn — was a warm 13.3 degrees Celsius, as much as four degrees above normal. The maximum was 27 degrees Celsius, a couple of degrees warmer than normal.
The weatherman has predicted fog for the next two days with a slight rise in the minimum temperature.