Pune, 4th February 2024: Last month marked the warmest January for Pune in the past three years and the second warmest in the last decade, according to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The statistical insights unveiled a notable departure from typical winter patterns, with December 2023 witnessing double-digit minimum temperatures throughout the entire month.
Contrastingly, January 2024 saw just two instances of single-digit minimum temperatures on January 24-25. This marks a significant decrease compared to previous years, with the lowest single-digit count for the city in January observed in comparison to the majority of past years.
In a comparative analysis, both January 2022 and 2023 had experienced six days with minimum temperatures below 10°C, while the winter of 2019 had a more substantial 13 days with temperatures dropping to single digits. Meteorological department officials attributed this unusual warmth to increased moisture incursion over parts of Maharashtra during the winter season.
Anupam Kashyapi, the head of the weather forecasting division at IMD-Pune, explained, “The dominance of the easterly wave, characterized by winds from the Bay of Bengal, prevailed over many parts of Maharashtra in January. These southeasterly winds, being warmer and relatively more humid, replaced the traditionally cold and dry winds originating from North India. Additionally, intermittent systems injected moisture from both the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Wind interaction over Maharashtra in the past month further contributed to higher nighttime temperatures on many occasions.”
Kashyapi further highlighted the minimal influence of northerly winds penetrating Maharashtra during this winter season. The typically colder northerly winds were largely unsuccessful in extending beyond central India due to the predominant movement of western disturbances north of the western Himalayan region.
While parts of Maharashtra experienced a few instances of cold wave events, Pune, which is known to witness such conditions in some winters, did not encounter significant cold wave instances this time. Even when temperatures dipped below normal during certain nights in Pune, the deviations were only 1.5-2° below the normal range. The criteria for negative departures indicating cold wave conditions require a deviation of 4.5° or more below normal.
The unusual warmth throughout January and the atypical absence of significant cold wave instances underscore the changing dynamics of winter in the region, prompting meteorologists to delve deeper into the factors contributing to this deviation from the historical weather patterns.