Exploring the October Heat Effect: Mumbai’s Unprecedented Temperature Rise
Mumbai: The bustling city of Mumbai, known for its coastal charm and diverse culture, recently experienced an unusual and unexpected meteorological event. On a seemingly ordinary Monday, the city’s maximum temperature skyrocketed to 35.9 degrees Celsius, marking a departure of three degrees above the normal range. This sudden rise in temperature, however, was not indicative of the infamous “October heat” that Mumbai typically encounters. In this article, we will delve into the details of this weather phenomenon, its causes, and what Mumbaikars can expect in the coming days.
Table of Contents: Mumbai
A Day of Drastic Temperature Shifts
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported this surprising temperature surge, which caught the attention of residents and meteorologists alike. To put it into perspective, the maximum temperature for the Santacruz observatory stood at a relatively moderate 33 degrees Celsius just a day earlier. However, within a span of 24 hours, the mercury climbed to a scorching 35.9 degrees on that fateful Monday afternoon.
While this temperature reading was notably high, it’s essential to note that it wasn’t the highest recorded in October’s history. Historically, Mumbai has seen even hotter October days. For instance, between 2011 and 2020, the highest maximum temperature in October was recorded at a sweltering 38.6 degrees in 2015, precisely on October 17. The second-highest recorded temperature, 38 degrees, occurred in 2018 on October 28.
October Heat: An Anomaly or a Norm?
Meteorological experts and scientists weighed in on this peculiar temperature spike. Sushma Nair, a scientist from IMD Mumbai, shed light on the situation, explaining that the city is likely to endure the warmth for the next 2-3 days at least. She pointed out the presence of dry easterly and north-easterly winds in the lower atmosphere, which contributed to the sudden temperature rise. This unusual weather phenomenon can be attributed to a variety of factors.
Understanding the Meteorological Factors
Raghu Murtugudde, a Professor of climate studies at IIT Bombay, offered insights into the underlying meteorological factors at play. He noted that the shift in easterly winds signaled the complete retreat of monsoon winds, with winds from the north-northeast gradually taking over. As these winds descend from the Western Ghats, they can become warmer, leading to elevated temperatures. Additionally, the warming trends observed over the Middle East and the Mediterranean have resulted in desert winds blowing towards Mumbai, contributing to the heatwaves.
The Absence of the “October Heat”
Despite the city’s sweltering conditions, meteorologists emphasize that the notorious “October heat” has not yet fully taken hold. This annual weather phenomenon typically leads to a gradual increase in temperatures from the first week of October, with daily highs ranging between the mid-30s to 35 degrees Celsius. According to Sushma Nair of the IMD, the surge in temperatures can be attributed to dry air brought in by the easterly winds, a characteristic phenomenon for October.
Humidity’s Role in the Equation
Humidity levels played a crucial role in amplifying the discomfort for Mumbaikars. Reports indicated alarmingly high humidity levels, reaching 71% and 81% in Santacruz and Colaba, respectively. This added moisture in the air only intensified the already oppressive conditions.
The Impact of Dry Air and Easterly Winds
To gain a deeper understanding of the temperature surge, it’s essential to explore the effects of dry air and easterly winds. Sushma Nair reiterated that the sudden increase in temperatures could be attributed to the dry air caused by the easterly winds. This dry spell is expected to persist for the next few days, a pattern typical for October. Independent meteorologists also support this view, emphasizing that the monsoons bid farewell to Mumbai on October 6, two days earlier than the official withdrawal date.
Athreya Shetty, a renowned weather enthusiast, highlighted the presence of an anticyclone over North Maharashtra and adjoining Konkan. This atmospheric condition trapped moisture closer to the surface, leading to a temperature inversion where temperatures rose instead of decreasing higher in the atmosphere. Consequently, the city experienced a warm and foggy morning, a trend likely to continue due to the prevailing conditions.
Unusual Fog Phenomenon
The combination of trapped moisture, clear skies, and calm conditions resulted in foggy mornings, a common occurrence during the transitional period post-monsoon. Abhijit Modak, an independent forecaster, further emphasized that as the monsoon receded, residual moisture clung to the wet surface soil. Coupled with the absence of winds, this created the perfect recipe for Mumbai’s foggy mornings.
What Lies Ahead?
As Mumbai grapples with this unexpected surge in temperatures, it’s important for residents to stay prepared and take necessary precautions to beat the heat. While the “October heat” has not fully established itself, the city may continue to experience warmer conditions for the next few days. It’s advisable to stay hydrated, wear light clothing, and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during peak hours.
Mumbai’s recent temperature spike is a reminder of the unpredictability of weather patterns. While the “October heat” is yet to arrive in full force, the city’s residents should remain vigilant and stay informed about changing weather conditions. As we navigate these meteorological fluctuations, let’s remember that Mother Nature often has surprises in store, and staying prepared is the key to weathering any storm, or in this case, the heatwave.