It’s hot, but the question is how much

As Bengaluru wilted under the oppressive heat on Tuesday afternoon, a debate was brewing on various forums. Had the maximum temperature actually touched 40 degree Celsius as indicated by apps on smart phones?

Despite what the apps said, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) clarified that the correct maximum temperature recorded was 37.2 degree Celsius. This is the highest this April and three degrees above the normal temperature.

IMD Director S.M. Metri refused to comment on the temperature recorded by various apps and websites. “The highest all-time record is 38.9 degree Celsius that was recorded in May 1931,” he said.

Bengaluru was hotter than even Chennai (35 degree Celsius) on Tuesday. Former IMD director B. Puttanna said the temperature in the heart of the city will be higher than on the outskirts. The reasons could be deforestation and urbanisation, leading to increase in population. “However, the temperature variation due to these factors will be minimal,” he said and added that the temperature at the road/ground level will be different.

He said that the recordings of the automatic weather stations may not be accurate. This, he said, could be due to low quality sensors. IMD recordings are the most accurate, as they are recorded as per international standards and norms.

Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist, Skymet Weather Services, admitted that apps and websites predicting the weather are not accurate. The temperature shown by apps and websites may differ and there is likely to be variation ranging from one to two degrees.

The variation could be due to calibration of sensors in automated weather stations and software issues, apart from source of the data (temperature, relative humidity, wind speeds etc). “The IMD records the actual temperature and is used as a benchmark by the websites and apps to calculate the forecast for the week ahead,” he said.

How is ‘feels like” temperature calculated?

If you find the heat unbearable or think it’s hotter than what the weatherman has predicted, your mind is not playing tricks. It’s why the term ‘feels like temperature’ was coined. The ‘feels like temperature’ is usually calculated by considering the air temperature, relative humidity and wind speeds at a height of around five feet, typically the height at which the ‘temperature’ can be felt on the face.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 11:32:52 AM |

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