The odd weather patterns in Mumbai and rest of the country — extremely harsh summers, prolonged monsoon and now a delayed winter accompanied by rain – signal a short-term climate change, said weather experts, but added that the disruption in established weather patterns cannot be labeled.
Officials at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the weather system has been observed to behave in a peculiar manner that needs to be observed.
“The monsoon was prolonged, and was followed by cyclonic activity. The Uttarakhand floods and the ongoing showers over central parts of India like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh has been a peculiar pattern which we have not seen in a long time,” said Dr B P Yadav, director, IMD, New Delhi. He added that as many as five cyclones had formed after the monsoon had receded — a very high number when compared to such formations in the last few years.
“We will have to observe the pattern for the next few years and collect data for over 30 years to label it as a climate change,” said Yadav.
Dr Gufran Beig, programme director, System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology termed the odd pattern as a ‘signal of short-term climate change’.
“The visibility levels in several cities went down drastically down due to the pollution being trapped in the cooler air. Summers have been extreme, as were the winters.
These typical patterns do hint at slight changes,” said Beig, citing the example of summer temperatures in Pune that saw a significantly high difference recorded between minimum and maximum.
While Mumbai continues to feel the nip in the air, met department officials have warned that the chill will last only for the next few days. Sunday was the fifth-coldest recorded for March in a decade, when the temperature dipped to 16 degrees Celsius.
The dip in temperature is due to chilly winds from the north where winter still continues, they added.
“In 2012, the minimum temperature in March had dipped to 12 degrees Celsius, but these changes are sporadic,” said K S Hosalikar, deputy director-general, IMD, Mumbai. The dip in Mumbai temperatures is also attributed to the hailstorm in Marathwada and Vidarbha.
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