Science Establishes That India's Winters Have Been Getting Hotter

01/11/2015 1:39 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
TAUSEEF MUSTAFA via Getty Images
Indian farmers warm themselves around a fire during a dense fog along the India-Pakistan border in Suchit-Garh, 36 kms southwest of Jammu on January 10, 2013. The beheading of an Indian soldier may have sparked a war of words between Delhi and Islamabad but the two nuclear rivals are both determined to prevent it from wrecking a fragile peace process. Two Indian soldiers died after a firefight erupted in disputed Kashmir on Tuesday as a patrol moving in fog discovered Pakistani troops about 500 metres (yards) inside Indian territory, according to the Indian army. AFP PHOTO/Tauseef MUSTAFA (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

Even as the nations of the world congregate in Paris later this year to forge a fair plan to limit the rise in global temperatures, a study from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) shows that winters across India have become hotter over the last century.

The average maximum temperature of December and February, according to a report in the Times of India, has increased by 1.5°C over these years. Moreover, November has become warmer by 1.4°C and the maximum temperature of October has increased by 1.1°C.

"Results show significant warming in all seasons, but more so in the colder months," Arvind Kumar Srivastava, the director of IMD's National Climate Centre, told the newspaper.

In line with several climate assessments from across the world, that showed every year in the last decade to be hotter than the previous ones, the India study also finds that winter-warming trends accelerated in recent decades.

Referring to the latest study, Srivastava said, "The highest rise in mean temperature in India over this period has been in post-monsoon or colder months of November and December - by 1°C. Winter month February and post-monsoon month October followed them. The annual mean temperature of the country has increased by 0.6°C. The rise in mean and maximum temperature in each decade since 1901 has been continuous."

The annual mean temperature refers to the average temperature for the entire year at a location. According to IMD, the post-monsoon season runs from October to December in India, while winter from January to February.

A senior scientist of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) weighed in that there was an increase in aerosols emissions during pre-monsoon months that could be cutting down heat from the sun. So rather than winters getting hot it could be that vehicular and industrial pollution were masking rising temperatures.

This year, the warm winter months have also coincided with poor rains across the country and especially in Maharashtra and Karnataka which have had consequences on India's production of pulses. These could also ripple over into other winter crops that are sown and usually harvested around January.

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