In its latest seasonal outlook for December to February, the weather department said there was a higher probability of above-normal minimum temperatures during the winter season.
“Except for the northern-most parts, the entire country could see a warmer winter this time—that’s what our coupled dynamic forecasting models show," said Dr M. Mohapatra, director-general of meteorology, IMD, New Delhi.
According to the forecast, average temperatures are likely to be higher by 0.5°C across most subdivisions of peninsular India and some subdivisions of east and central India.
In central and peninsular India, the minimum temperatures could be higher by 1°C.
The impact of above-normal mean temperatures will be mostly felt in the “core cold wave zone" which covers most of north-west India, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Haryana, which recently experienced rain and thundershowers following a western disturbance.
The core cold wave zone also covers Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana.
The current sub-divisional forecast is based on predictions from the “monsoon mission coupled forecasting system" model developed by the ministry of earth sciences. The predictions are based on the initial weather conditions in November.
Earlier this year, IMD had predicted a warmer summer, too, with mean average temperatures higher by 0.5-1°C— indicating a consistent warming trend across the world.
The winter warming forecast comes amid mounting climate change concerns, with recent global forecasts suggesting the world has already warmed by 1°C from pre-industrial levels—a level that is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if temperatures continue to rise at the same rate.
The latest report by the UN’s inter-governmental panel on climate change in 2018 also highlighted that the effects of global warming have come sooner and hit harder than predicted, and that it would not be possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2100 unless rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes were introduced across all aspects of society.
Above normal temperatures were experienced across the globe in 2019, especially in the August-October period, according to the World Meteorological Organization.