The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the second part of its sixth assessment report on February 28, its latest analysis of the wide-ranging and complex impact that the climate crisis is likely to have, with some irreversible changes having already taken place. In India, February 28 was also the last day of the 2021-22 winter season, which runs from December to February. According to India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) gridded temperature dataset, this was the coldest winter India has experienced since the winter of 1951-52 by maximum temperature, largely a result of unseasonal rainfall. Here are four charts that explain how it turned out to be so
This low maximum temperature this winter is at odds with historical trends
The average maximum temperature in India this winter (up to February 27) is 24.29 degrees Celsius. This is 1.51 degrees less than the average temperature for the December-February interval in the 1981-2010 period, considered the normal. In the second coldest winter since 1951-52 by this metric, which was the winter of 1983-84, maximum temperature was 1.15 degrees less than normal. On no day this winter was India’s average maximum temperature above normal, although it was the closest to this benchmark in December, when the average temperature for the month was 1.2 degrees or 4.7% below normal. January saw the most negative deviation of 2.02 degrees or 8.2%.