Winter is here and is unlikely to be cooler than normal in Delhi

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The weather department also predicted that temperatures will begin to fall from Thursday, bringing to an end a November that saw Delhi’s mercury above normal for large parts of the month.

Winter is here and is unlikely to be cooler than normal in Delhi, the central weather office said in its season forecast on Wednesday. It also predicted that temperatures will begin to fall from Thursday, bringing to an end a November that saw Delhi’s mercury above normal for large parts of the month because of a lack of western disturbances over the region for over a month.

“The winter season (December 2021 to February 2022) is likely to experience normal to above normal minimum temperature over parts of northwest India…below normal minimum temperature is likely over some parts of north interior peninsula,” said the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) winter forecast.

Experts said that the region in general, and Delhi in particular, is not likely to see major deviation from the normal temperatures for these three months.

A senior Met official said that the temperatures in Delhi are likely to be largely normal throughout the season.

“Some parts of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh could see above normal minimum temperature. Similarly, UP could overall also see below normal maximum temperature recordings in this season. But Delhi will largely stick to the normal range according to the forecast,” the official said.

Forecasters said Delhi recorded slightly higher than usual temperatures in November because of an absence of western disturbance since October 24. Normally, Delhi in November sees at least two western disturbances, which switch the wind patterns and carry cold winds from states that have received snowfall.

Earlier forecasts had suggested that Delhi, along with other parts of north India could be in for a colder than usual winter season, under the impact of La Niña —a climate pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean every few years and affects weather around the world.

La Niña refers to the large-scale cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, coupled with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation, namely winds, pressure and rainfall. It usually has the opposite impacts on weather and climate as El Niño, which is the warm phase of the so-called El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

ENSO has a major influence on weather and climate patterns such as heavy rains, floods and drought. In India for example, El Nino is associated with drought or weak monsoon while La Nina is associated with strong monsoon and above average rains and colder winters.

However, weather experts said La Niña does not always impact the actual temperature recordings in Indian states, adding there have been exceptions to the understanding that La Nina is characterised by harsher winters, in the past as well.

Akshay Deoras, meteorologist and PhD student at the department of meteorology, University of Reading, UK said that impacts of La Niña are not always straightforward or linear.

Akshay Deoras, an independent meteorologist and PhD student at the department of meteorology, University of Reading, UK said that impacts of La Niña are not always straightforward or linear.

“A La Niña year is usually characterised by colder than average winter temperatures but that is not always necessary. For instance, 2016 was a La Nina year but a significant reduction in the mean temperatures was not seen during the winter season. Its impact on temperatures is not very straightforward and cannot always be seen in a linear way. The global models also suggest that this winter is likely to be in the normal to above normal range. So, this year is also likely to be an exception to the usual La Nina effects,” Deoras explained.

Cloudy skies in store

The impact of two consecutive western disturbances is likely to lead to cloudy skies in Delhi on Thursday and Friday with a chance of light, isolated showers in some parts of the city on the two days. Another western disturbance will impact the Capital on December 5, IMD said.

“In the coming days, the temperatures will start dropping. But largely, according to our own forecasts, winters are expected to be normal,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather