New Delhi: India experienced its hottest and driest August in recorded history, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Notably, this August marked the highest temperatures since 1901, with four out of five of the hottest August mean temperatures occurring in the past seven years. The experts say that this alarming trend highlights the growing impact of climate change, leading to more extreme weather events.
August 2023 saw a scorching mean maximum temperature of 35.4 degrees Celsius, surpassing the normal by 1.2 degrees. The last time Safdarjung weather station in Delhi witnessed a higher mean maximum temperature in August was in 2014 when it reached 36.3 degrees Celsius.
Rainfall remained elusive, making August the second driest in at least 14 years. Safdarjung, the base station in the national capital, suffered a rainfall deficit of 61 per cent, recording only 91.8 mm of rainfall compared to the normal 233.1 mm. While August 2022 was the driest in 14 years with just 41.6 mm of rainfall, this August marked the second driest in the same timeframe.
On August 21, the highest single-day maximum temperature hit 38.1 degrees Celsius, while the mean minimum temperature for the month remained at 26.77 degrees Celsius. On August 31, temperatures remained above normal, with a maximum of 36.8 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 25.9 degrees Celsius.
However, some relief is anticipated in September as monsoon rainfall activity is expected to return to normal levels throughout the country but IMD has predicted above normal temperatures for September too.
On September 1, the weather forecast agency predicted that in Delhi maximum temperature is going to reach 37 degrees Celsius while minimum can be around 27 degree Celsius.
“In September, above-normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country, except for some areas in south peninsular India and a few pockets in west-central India, where normal to below-normal maximum temperatures are expected. Above-normal minimum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country, except for some areas in extreme northern India, where normal to below-normal minimum temperatures are expected,” said a senior IMD official.
The September forecast suggests that above-normal rainfall is most likely over many areas in northeastern India, adjoining eastern India, foothills of the Himalayas, and some areas of east-central and south peninsular India. “However, the probability of normal to below-normal rainfall is the highest over the remaining parts of the country,” said the official.