, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 51-65

Recent trends in pre-monsoon daily temperature extremes over India

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Abstract

Extreme climate and weather events are increasingly being recognized as key aspects of climate change. Pre-monsoon season (March–May) is the hottest part of the year over almost the entire South Asian region, in which hot weather extremes including heat waves are recurring natural hazards having serious societal impacts, particularly on human health. In the present paper, recent trends in extreme temperature events for the pre-monsoon season have been studied using daily data on maximum and minimum temperatures over a well-distributed network of 121 stations for the period 1970–2005. For this purpose, time series of extreme temperature events have been constructed for India as a whole and seven homogeneous regions, viz., Western Himalaya (WH), Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE), North Central (NC), East coast (EC), West coast (WC) and Interior Peninsula (IP).

In general, the frequency of occurrence of hot days and hot nights showed widespread increasing trend, while that of cold days and cold nights has shown widespread decreasing trend. The frequency of the occurrence of hot days is found to have significantly increased over EC, WC and IP, while that of cold days showed significant decreasing trend over WH and WC. The three regions EC, WC and NW showed significant increasing trend in the frequency of hot nights. For India as whole, the frequency of hot days and nights showed increasing trend while cold days and nights showed decreasing trends. Day-to-day fluctuations of pre-monsoon daily maximum and minimum temperatures have also been studied for the above regions. The results show that there is no significant change in day-to-day magnitude of fluctuations of pre-monsoon maximum and minimum temperatures. However, the results generally indicate that the daily maximum and minimum temperatures are becoming less variable within the season.