Surprised by an unusually warm January and February?
Things are just heating up, and the summer of 2017 could be among the hottest in living memory. According to the Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD) summer forecast, the temperatures will be "above normal" between the months of March and May. And don't think you can escape to the hills to beat the heat; even the mountains of north India are expected to be sweltering.
This was the eighth hottest January in the last 116 years, according to the IMD, and in the upcoming summer months, temperatures across the country will again be one degree above average. The northwest part of the country will be especially hot, IMD has said.
"Above normal temperatures up to one degree Celsius are likely to prevail over all meteorological sub-divisions of the country, except northwest India where temperatures are likely to be more than 1 degree Celsius above normal," the IMD said.
But even more cruel is news that the hill stations of the north, popular with Indians escaping the harsh summer months, will also suffer from the spiraling temperatures. According to a report in The Hindu, the weather agency has blamed global warming for the rise in temperatures. "Studies indicate increasing trends in the frequency and duration of heat waves over the country. (This) can be attributed to increasing trends in the greenhouse gases and the warming of the sea surface temperatures over the equatorial Indian and Pacific oceans," KJ Ramesh, director-general of the IMD, told the media organisation.
News agency PTI mentioned the "core heatwave" zone — Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana — will have "above normal" weather conditions.
However, one silver lining in this picture of doom is the fact that temperatures will be cooler compared to last year. 2016 was the hottest year since 1901, with Phalodi in Rajasthan once registering a temperature of 51 degrees Celsius, the highest ever recorded in the country. More than 1,600 people died due to extreme climate conditions in 2016. Of them, 700 died due to heatwave conditions, including over 400 deaths in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana alone.
Ramesh told The Hindu that compared to 2016, this year will be better. "The summer may be slightly milder than last year," he said, adding that the elevated temperature of 2016 was also due to a particularly warm winter. The summer months of March-May last year were 1.36°C higher than historical average, making it the second-warmest since 1901, the report said.
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: Mar 01, 2017 12:19 pm | Updated Date: Mar 01, 2017 12:19 pm