The India Meteorological Department warns India of a scorching summer characterized by heat waves, warmer nights, and average national rainfall in most parts of the country.
The IMD, since 2016, has been presenting seasonal outlooks for temperatures for both hot and cold weather seasons across the country. The current forecasting system is based on on the newly developed Multi-Model Ensemble (MME). The MME approach employs the Coupled Global Climate models (CGCMs) from different global climate prediction and research centers including IMD’s Monsoon Mission Climate Forecast System (MMCFS) model.
On 28th February 2023, i.e., on Tuesday, IMD warns people living in India to gear up for the burning summers from March to May 2023 in its seasonal outlook. According to the weather office, monthly average maximum temperatures were the highest for February since 1901 across the country. S.C. Bhan, head of Hydro and Agromet, talking to the press virtually, stated the summer for most parts of the country will be severe, like the last year of 2022.
March will be arider than usual pan northwest India. The maximum temperature is likely to persist above normal in northwest, central, and northeast India while even minimum temperatures will be higher than normal except in Peninsular India. Experts opinionated that India should emphasize developing heat action plans as soon as possible as heat can be proven to be deadly to the vulnerable population.
Mr. Bhan added that there will also be an “enhanced probability of heat waves” occurring over many regions of central and adjoining northwest India in this period of three months. IMD will issue color-coded heat wave warnings every five days from Wednesday.
The number of Indian states slammed by heat waves since 2015 has more than doubled to 23 by 2020. The country elicits heat waves as a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the hot weather season.
IMD predicted rainfall will be normal at the national level.It forecasted a nearly 50% chance of El Nino conditions will be set in June, July, and August, coinciding with the monsoon season. Presently, La Niña conditions are occurring over the equatorial Pacific region. The La Niña is likely to weaken, turning into El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions during the pre-monsoon season. But a more accurate forecast can be made only in April.
El Nino is attributed to the unusual warming of waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific whereas La Nina is attributed to unusually cooler waters in the same area. Cumulatively, the phenomenon is called the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which has a high correlation with hotter summers and weaker monsoon rains in India.
Pressure on Government
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked the states to be vigilant about unusually high temperatures, requesting to keep health centres equipped with drinking water, ORS, ice packs, intravenous fluid, and cooling facilities. State health departments have been advised to keep tabs on heat-related illnesses daily and disseminate the daily heat alerts to the district-level teams which will be issued under the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health. Nightmares of early burning summer have evoked the government to set up an inter-ministerial committee to prevent a repeat of last year when a scathing March afflicted the winter wheat crop.