District sizzles in the sun

Jiby Kattakayam

Past three months the hottest in 26 years

2-3 degrees Celsius rise between 1984 and 2010

Daily temperatures between 35 and 36 degrees Celsius

Kozhikode: With daily maximum temperatures holding steady between 35 and 36 degrees Celsius for the past one week, causing much discomfort to the people, it will possibly come as no surprise that the months of December 2009 and January and February this year have been the hottest in the district in the past 26 years.

Temperature data that the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) has been collecting since 1984 show a 2-3 degrees Celsius rise in temperatures between 1984 and 2010.

While the mean maximum temperature in February 1984 was 32.7 degrees, it was 34.9 degrees in February 2010, a rise of 2.2. degrees C. The mean maximum temperature in January 1984 was 31.7 degree and in January 2010, it was 33.9 degrees Celsius, a rise of 2.2 degrees C.

But what has alarmed the CWRDM scientists is the steep one degree Celsius mean temperature rise in the past five years. The temperatures were recorded on the Kottaparamba campus of the CWRDM, 20 km from here.

Centre executive director K.V. Jayakumar said it was not possible to conclude from the available data that this temperature rise is one of the symptoms of climate change. “The current scenario of rising temperatures could also be a natural aberration of the climate. We have requested the Meteorology Department for temperature data of the past 100 years to positively correlate this to climate change.” However, the opposite effect seems to be happening to minimum temperatures. Minimum temperatures that stood at 23.4, 22.5 and 23.2 degrees Celsius in February 1984, January 1984 and December 1983 have been varying between 19 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees Celsius in the past five years, indicating that minimum temperatures are falling even while maximum temperatures rise.

However, the minimum temperatures in the district have recorded abnormal rise and falls, unlike the maximum temperatures that show a steady rise.

Dr. Jayakumar said the centre scientists were trying to assess how the monsoon pattern would be in 2010 and predict the date of arrival of the monsoon with this temperature data. He said a comparative study to correlate temperature and rainfall data collected from Kozhikode was also being done.