Climate Change

August, September & November warmest on record in India, winter temperatures to remain above normal: IMD

The IMD said below-normal coldwave days are expected over most parts of northwest, central, east, and northeast India this winter

By Rohini Krishnamurthy
Published: Friday 01 December 2023
Representational Photo from iStock__

The months of August, September, and November 2023 secured the first spot among the warmest years in India since 1901, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Southern Peninsular India, in particular, saw the record highest minimum temperature since 1901, the IMD said in a press briefing on its monthly outlook for rainfall and temperature during December 2023.

Globally, the temperature this year through October was found to be 1.4°C (with an uncertainty of 0.2°C) above the 1850-1900 average.

“It is virtually certain that 2023 may be the warmest year on record in the last 175 years,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general of Meteorology at IMD, said in the press briefing.

Between October and November, the cumulative seasonal rainfall was 18.8 per cent lower than average. In southern Peninsular India and central India, it was 37.5 and 31.1 below normal.

November 2023 provided some respite. Most parts of the country, excluding east-central and northwest India, experienced normal to above-normal temperatures.

The reasons behind this include two low-pressure systems. The first cyclone ‘Midhili’ formed between November 14 and November 19 and the second system that formed on November 30 is likely to intensify into a depression, IMD noted.

Further, the IMD added, that an interaction between western disturbances and easterlies caused severe weather across northwest and central India towards the end of November.

The sea surface temperatures were above normal in the eastern and central Pacific, western Indian Ocean, and much of the Atlantic Ocean.

IMD has also estimated that El Nino — a recurring climate pattern of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) with above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean — will prevail through the spring of 2024.

The system will transition to ENSO neutral between May and July 2024. During ENSO-neutral, tropical Pacific SSTs are generally close to average, according to IMD.

Winter forecast

According to IMD’s seasonal forecast, the maximum temperatures from December 2023-February 2024 are likely to be above normal in most parts of the country, except some areas of central and northwest India. These regions may record normal to below-normal maximum temperatures.

Minimum temperatures, too, are likely to be above normal over most parts of India, the IMD highlighted.

Similarly, in December, the minimum and maximum temperatures are likely to be above normal over most parts of the country.

The IMD said below-normal coldwave days are expected over most parts of northwest, central, east, and northeast India this winter.

Coldwaves, according to IMD, occur when the minimum temperature is less than the tenth percentile of daily climatological value and the climatological daily minimum temperature is less than 15°C. This should prevail for three consecutive days to be classified as a coldwave.

Coldwave conditions are likely to be less frequent, intense, and durable from December to February than normal, Mohapatra explained.

This trend in December can be explained by El Nino, where warmer than average temperatures are recorded, he added.

The monthly rainfall for December in southern Peninsular India is expected to be normal. For the entire country, it is predicted to be above normal, except for many parts of the northeast, north Peninsular India, and adjoining areas of central India.

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