BHUBANESWAR: Mercury shot past the 40 degree Celsius mark in the Capital which recorded the hottest day of the season on Saturday. The maximum day temperature, reading 40.9 degree, is also the highest for the month of February since 1963.
On February 23, 1963, the City had recorded 42.7 degree Celsius. Since then, February has not been as warm. But in the last one decade, the temperature pattern has shown a rising trend which could be gauged from the records available with the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
While Bhubaneswar has reported 40 degree-plus temperature in February just thrice since 2006, what is interesting is that the mercury has shown a steady jump over the last ten years, thanks to the impact of climate change and global warming.
Barring 2006, 2009 and 2012, when the Capital City recorded 40 degree Celsius in February, in all other years, the mercury has been climbing. From the highest of 33.1 degree Celsius in 2008 February, the highest temperature has been hovering around 37 degree in the last six years for the month.
“Apart from climate change issues, local conditions are also responsible for the heating up process. Urbanisation of the city may have been a contributing factor as it affects the heat absorption and radiation capability,” Director of IMD, Odisha Sarat Chandra Sahu said.
The current conditions, he said, may abate as the weather outlook points at a drop in day temperature. On Sunday, the maximum temperature would drop by a degree or two. However, from February 25-26, it is expected to fall sharply.
The cirrus clouds over Chhattisgarh are a reason for the hot conditions as it prevents the radiation process. The cloud cover would change their location and wind flow will also change.
“From middle of next week, the day temperature would drop to 35 degree Celsius level which may bring some relief,” Sahu said.
Interestingly, while the temperature recording at airport area showed 40.9 degree Celsius on Saturday, the automatic weather gauge system installed at KIIT reported 37 degree Celsius. This, according to Sahu, could have a connection with the vegetation cover of the region. Chandaka forests are located close to Patia whereas airport is a barren pocket.
Meanwhile, seven other towns reported 38 degree or above temperature on the day. Of them, Malkangiri and Paradip recorded 39 degree Celsius.