An India Meteorological Department winter analysis has revealed that December last year had the warmest night temperatures since 1901 in at least five cities in Maharashtra — Pune, Ratnagiri, Malegaon, Kolhapur and Dahanu.
The December 2019 nights were the fourth warmest for Mumbai in the IMD’s recorded history (1901) and second warmest for Aurangabad and Solapur. The data revealed that the average night temperature in Maharashtra was the highest after 1967.
At least 11 cities in the state broke the minimum temperature records for experiencing one of the warmest Decembers since 1901. All these cities have recorded the warmest December nights during recent decades, especially after 1960.
Arvind Kumar Srivastava, head of the Climate Research Division (Climate Research and Services) IMD-Pune said that not only Maharashtra, but the entire south peninsular India experienced the second warmest average minimum temperature in December 2019 in recorded history.
Srivastava said to have such warm night temperatures during winter was rare but not incredible, considering the larger climate change and global warming scenario.
The warming trend this winter indirectly suggested copious moisture incursion into Maharashtra, as well as south peninsular India.
This winter, the anti-cyclones from the Arabian Sea were constantly blocking the flow of cold and dry northerly winds originating from the snow-clad regions of the Himalayas. While these winds could enter north India, their entry to south peninsular India, including Maharashtra, was blocked.
The wind regime was also such that the moist westerlies from the Arabian Sea or warm and humid easterlies were influencing the minimum temperatures in Maharashtra during most of winter. “As far as the high night temperatures witnessed this winter in many cities of Maharashtra and south India are concerned, there was an influence of local factors like soil topography and vegetation that also played a role in pushing up minimum temperatures in those stations,” Srivastava said.