India logs hottest July ever; warmer nights key factor, shows IMD data
The mean temperature for July was the highest ever in India, according to data with the India Meteorological Department (IMD). It was the high minimum or night time temperature, and not the maximum temperature, which contributed to July recording the highest mean temperature on record.
The mean temperature for July was 28.65°C. The previous record was in 2015 when the mean was 28.64°C, and in 1987 when the mean temperature was 28.62°C, both El Nino years.
This year again, weak El Nino conditions are prevailing. El Nino is a climate pattern characterised by above normal sea surface temperatures over the equatorial Pacific Ocean which contributes to above normal land temperatures in the tropical latitudes. El Nino years in India are linked to below normal monsoon rains and higher than normal frequency of heat waves.
“The high minimum temperatures this July contributed to high mean temperature. This was mainly a result of clouding at night time in the first and second week of July in many parts of the country which trapped the heat of the surface. The mean maximum temperature of 32.40°C this year was also the third highest on record,” said AK Srivastava, head, climate research division, IMD Pune.
The June temperature this year was the fourth highest since 1901 when IMD started keeping records. The mean temperature in June was 30.26°C, the fourth highest since 1901 after 1958 (30.33°C), 2014 (30.33°C) and 1926 (30.31°C).
Many states in India also set a new record for maximum temperature this June. The delay in onset and uneven distribution of monsoon rains, which are having a massive impact on agriculture, are also linked to global temperature rise, scientists said. According to IMD’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin of India for June, Guwahati, Jhansi, Kota, Pilani, Bhopal, Guna, Gwalior, Aurangabad, Baramati, Karwar and Kozhikode recorded the highest temperature for the month. Jhansi, for example, recorded 48°C compared to the previous record of 47.8°C in 1924; Pilani recorded the highest maximum temperature of 48.1°C compared to the previous record of 46.9°C in 1963.
The bulletin added that the maximum temperature anomaly in June was more than 2°C over parts of Jharkhand, Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Marathawada, Vidarbha, Madhya Pradesh , Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, west Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema. It was more than 3°C over parts of Vidarbha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar.
The minimum temperature was above normal over most parts of the country except Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep and some isolated places. Minimum temperature anomaly was more than 2°C over parts of Bihar, east Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Telangana.
“This year, India saw episodes of extreme heat in June and an unusual monsoon pattern. Churu in Rajasthan for example recorded 51.3°C on June 2, the highest ever; Delhi’s Palam observatory had also recorded 48°C on June 10. This year, even foothills and Himalayan hill towns had heat waves and recorded above 40°C temperature in June. Monsoon onset was very late, there were hardly any rains till mid June, the month ended with a 33% deficit but unusually high rains in some regions in July led to above average rains in July at 104%,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, climate and meteorology, Skymet Weather.
“This time we noticed that a significant part of the month’s expected rainfall was received only in a few days in Mumbai and some other parts of the west coast. Mumbai rains were unusual. There are heavy rains in Gujarat now, which happens almost every year in some parts of the state,” said KJ Ramesh, former director general of meteorology at IMD. Mumbai on July 1 recorded 375.2 mm in 24 hours, considered in the “exceptionally heavy” category, the highest in 14 years and second highest in 45 years.
Referring to the World Meteorological Organisation’s latest analysis, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday said the findings for this year are “even more significant because the previous hottest month, July 2016, occurred during one of the strongest El Niño’s ever. That is not the case this year. All of this means we are on track for the period from 2015 to 2019 to be the five hottest years on record.
“This year alone we have seen temperature records shatter from New Delhi to Anchorage – from Paris to Santiago – from Adelaide to the Arctic Circle. If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg. And that iceberg is also rapidly melting.”