NEW DELHI: No one’s going to mind it if the weatherman gets this particular forecast wrong, but met specialists are saying this could prove to be the hottest summer we have known. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) has said that 2016 is on course to beating 2015 as the hottest year on record globally, and the National Climate Centre of the
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India Meteorological Department (IMD) has added that there is high probability that this summer could get harsher as temperatures are expected to stay above normal in the months to come.
“Mean temperatures have been above normal starting September 2015 and this is likely to continue in May and beyond,” said D Sivananda Pai, head of the National Climate Centre. The annual mean temperature recorded in 2015 was 0.67 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, thus making it the third warmest year on record since 1901. However, with temperatures rising sharply in March, 2016 could possibly surpass 2015. The fact that eight of the nine warmest years on record were all in the new millennium — 2015, 2009, 2010, 2003, 2002, 2014, 2006, 2007 — tells its own story.
The country’s reservoirs reported even more bad news on Friday: their levels dropped further this week and stand at 10 per cent less than last year.
The silver lining, weather scientists said, is that the El Nino conditions which caused the poor monsoon last year and the high temperatures leading up to this summer, are likely to wane by July, before the monsoons bring rainfall.
But for now it’s the heat wave. The weekly forecast issued by the IMD said both day maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to remain above normal over across many states, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, interior Karnataka and interior Tamil Nadu, during April 22-May 1. With many regions in Maharashtra and Bundelkhand facing an acute water shortage, storage in reservoirs has dwindled to 22 per cent of capacity. This could affect power generation in the days to come. The fall is particularly bad in the southern region with its 31 reservoirs having only 14 per cent of total capacity left. Reservoirs in the western region have 19 per cent. According to the Water Resources Ministry, 35.839 billion cubic metre of water was available in these reservoirs out of a total capacity of 157.799 billion cubic metre.
The levels are 23 per cent less than the 10-year average storage in Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha and Rajasthan levels for the same period. Only Andhra and Tripura reported better storage vis-a-vis last year for the same period. There are 31 reservoirs in the southern region with a total storage capacity of 51.59 billion cubic metre.