WHILE SUMMER has not completely set in, Mumbai is sweating it out. On Sunday, the Santacruz observatory of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) recorded the highest maximum temperature of the season in Mumbai at 41 degrees Celsius, eight degrees above normal. This is the second highest maximum temperature in the last decade.
“The easterly winds are over the region and the anti-cyclonic winds can be seen over the Arabian Sea. This has led to a rise in the maximum and minimum temperature,” said a senior IMD official.
The highest temperature recorded this season uptil now was 37.8 degrees Celsius on March 1. While the hottest March day ever recorded was 41.7 degrees Celsius on March 28, 1956, the maximum temperature has previously touched 41.3 degrees Celsius on March 17, 2011.
Marking a huge gap between the highest and the lowest temperature of the day, the minimum temperature was recorded at 21.2 degrees Celsius, one degree below normal.
“The lower level inversion creates this difference in the minimum and maximum temperatures. This inversion is likely to persist for the next 1 to 2 days and then the maximum temperature may return to normal. But the minimum temperature is likely to remain on the higher side,” added the official.
The fluctuation in temperature often takes a toll on the health of people. “People should generally avoid going outside the house during afternoon and they should drink more fluids,” said the official.
According to the IMD’s seven day forecast, the maximum temperature is likely to dip to 32 degrees Celsius by Saturday while the minimum temperature will remain constant. “The summer season has not fully begun yet and this is the transition period between the two seasons. The temperatures are likely to become high from April,” added the official.
The pollution level in Mumbai has also deteriorated. On Sunday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 237, considered to be ‘poor’ air. According to the data obtained by System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality levels in Mumbai were worse than in Delhi, Pune and Ahmedabad. Delhi recorded an AQI of 143 on Sunday.
“The easterly winds do not allow the sea breeze to set in early and this has an effect on the air quality. Also, the the lower level inversion ensures that the pollutants remained trapped in the air,” added the IMD official.
Of the 10 locations in Mumbai where SAFAR monitors air quality, Mazagaon recorded the worst AQI at 394 (very poor). Air quality at Navi Mumbai, BKC and Andheri was also very poor. While air quality was poor at Borivali and Chembur, the pollution levels at Malad, Bhandup and Colaba were ‘moderate’.