Parts of northwest India, including the national capital, are expected to experience normal-to-above normal minimum temperatures, while the maximum temperatures are likely to be below normal between March and May, a spring forecast by the India Meteorological Department released on Tuesday said.
Releasing its seasonal forecast for the period till May, the Met department said large parts of north, northwest and central India are likely to record above normal temperatures in this period. However, maximum temperature in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, including Delhi, east and northeast India along with most parts of southern India are expected to record below normal maximum temperatures.
Parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh are likely to record normal to above normal maximum temperatures in this period, the IMD forecast said.
Currently, La Niña conditions are prevailing over the equatorial Pacific region.
“The La Niña is likely to weaken during the northern hemisphere spring season and to reach cold El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions during the second quarter of 2022. However, few climate models including indicate La Niña conditions likely to continue during the forecast period…It is important to note that the La Nina and ENSO impact on the weather is not so black and white. For instance, this was a La Nina year, which is usually characterised by harsher winters but in December, January we did not see an extreme winter,” said M Mohapatra, director general, IMD.
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. La Nina, its colder counterpart, is a climate pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean every few years and affects weather around the world. While the general understanding is that this weather phenomenon is characterised by colder than normal temperatures, weather experts have pointed out that the impact of La Nina is not always seen in the actual temperature recordings of Indian states, and there have been exceptions.
For the month of March, the IMD has forecast that most parts of the country are likely to record normal to below normal maximum and minimum temperatures. The rainfall activity is also expected to be in the normal range, according to Met officials.
“In March, normal to below normal minimum temperatures are most likely over most parts of India except some parts of eastern, south-eastern and north-western peninsula. Normal to below normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of the south peninsula and east and northeast India whereas above normal maximum temperatures are most likely over many parts of western and central India,” the IMD head said on Tuesday.
Private weather forecasters also predicted normal temperatures for the month of March.
“In the early part of March, there is a forecast of some western disturbances. The month largely is expected to see normal temperatures, maybe the minimum temperature shoot above the normal range for a few days but that deviation would be only around 2-3 degrees Celsius,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change), IMD.
Weathermen said that for January and February, the department largely got their predictions for below normal conditions over most parts of the country, on-point this year. However, the IMD faced criticisms last year after their predictions for short- and long-term, missed the mark on several occasions, this included the forecasting of the arrival of the southwest monsoon.
“Our forecasts are getting more accurate every year as we are using the latest technology to help us forecast better. The problem is that the weather in northwest India is very volatile and difficult to predict at times and we have always said that there is always a margin of error,” said a senior Met official who did not wish to be named.