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Delhi’s warmest December since 2017: IMD data

Dec 31, 2023 10:03 PM IST

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD, said that the lack of western disturbances have not been able to provide substantial rain and cloudiness over the plains

Sunday’s chilly conditions notwithstanding, the month of December was on average its warmest in six years. The average daytime, or maximum, temperature was almost a degree higher than the long-period average (LPA) due to a lack of western disturbances, which in turn led to clear skies and ample sunlight.

Haze in Gautam Budh Nagar in the National Capital Region on Sunday. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)
Haze in Gautam Budh Nagar in the National Capital Region on Sunday. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

In numerical terms, the month’s average maximum was 23.7°C. The last time this number was higher was in 2017, when the maximum was 24.1°C.

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In the last week of the month, however, ample moisture from a western disturbance created spells of dense fog, data showed.

The LPA for December’s maximum is 22.8°C.

The average minimum, or night-time temperature, has been above normal too and was recorded at 8.5 degrees Celsius – having risen significantly in the last week of the month.

The LPA for minimum temperature is 8.4 degrees Celsius, data from 1970-2020 showed.

In terms of minimum temperature too, Delhi has recorded its warmest nights since December 2017, when the average maximum temperature was 9.1 degrees Celsius, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said.

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD, said that the lack of western disturbances have not been able to provide substantial rain and cloudiness over the plains, besides, heavy snowfall missing from the mountains. “In order to have cold days, cloudiness is required, which was missing due to a lack of a western disturbance. Prevalence of clear skies meant there was ample sunlight in the first half of the month,” he said.

This allowed minimum to gradually dip in the first half of the month --- this is because clearer skies also lead to colder nights when there is no cloud cover to trap the day’s heat.

“From December 24 onwards, we are seeing dense fog and that has created a layer both near the surface and at higher levels, preventing sunlight to get through,” he said.

This month, Delhi recorded only two days during which the maximum temperature was below 20 degrees Celsius — December 29, when the maximum was 19.8 degrees Celsius and on December 31, when it was 15.9 degrees Celsius, the lowest so far this season.

The lowest minimum was 4.9 degrees Celsius, which was recorded on December 14. In comparison, it was 11.7 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

Mahesh Palawat, vice-president at Skymet meteorology, said a dip in day-time temperature and rise in night-time temperature were seen only towards the last week of December this year, which was caused by dense fog.

“Normally, we see two to three strong western disturbances in December. But this winter, not even a single western disturbance has been strong across northwest India. A lot of hill stations such as Shimla and Mussoorie are yet to see snow. When we see snowfall and icy-cold northerly winds blowing towards the plains, the minimum temperature dips,” said Palawat, adding that even the brief dip in minimum temperature in Delhi to 4.9 degrees Celsius was due to local factors, including clear skies.

Last December, Delhi’s lowest minimum was 5.0 degrees Celsius, which was recorded on December 26. The lowest maximum last December was 15.6 degrees Celsius, which was recorded on the same day.

In December 2021, the lowest minimum was 3.2 degrees Celsius, which was recorded on December 20.

The lowest maximum had been 17.8 degrees Celsius on December 17.

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