Climate of Delhi

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New Delhi
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
15
 
21
6
 
 
14
 
24
8
 
 
9.3
 
30
14
 
 
6.1
 
37
20
 
 
19
 
41
24
 
 
54
 
40
28
 
 
241
 
35
26
 
 
284
 
33
25
 
 
119
 
34
23
 
 
17
 
33
18
 
 
6.4
 
28
12
 
 
8.6
 
23
7
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: IMD[dead link]

The climate of Delhi is a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical (Köppen climate classification Cwa) with high variation between summer and winter temperatures and precipitation. Delhi's version of a humid subtropical climate is markedly different from many other humid subtropical cities such as Sao Paulo, Tokyo and Brisbane in that the city features dust storms (something more commonly seen in a desert climate), has relatively dry winters and has a prolonged spell of very hot weather, causing it to be sometimes classified as semi-arid region during summers.[1]

Summers start in early April and peak in May, with average temperatures near 32 °C (90 °F), although occasional heat waves can result in highs close to 45 °C (114 °F) on some days and therefore higher apparent temperature. The monsoon starts in late June and lasts until mid-September, with about 797.3 mm (31.5 inches)[2] of rain. The average temperatures are around 29 °C (85 °F), although they can vary from around 25 °C (78 °F) on rainy days to 32 °C (90 °F) during dry spells. The monsoons recede in late September, and the post-monsoon season continues till late October, with average temperatures sliding from 29 °C (85 °F) to 21 °C (71 °F).

Winter starts in November and peaks in January, with average temperatures around 12–13 °C (54–55 °F). Although winters are generally mild, Delhi's proximity to the Himalayas results in cold waves leading to lower apparent temperature due to wind chill. Delhi is notorious for its heavy fogs during the winter season. In December, reduced visibility leads to disruption of road, air and rail traffic.[3] They end in early February, and are followed by a short spring until the onset of the summer.

Extreme temperatures have ranged from −2.2 °C to 48.4 °C.[4]

Overview of Seasonal Distribution[edit]

  • Summer: April, May, June; Hot to very hot; Very low to moderate humidity (Dry weather); Low precipitation
  • Monsoon (Rainy): July, August, September; Hot, Pleasant during rains; High to very high humidity; Heavy precipitation
  • Autumn: October, November; Warm days, Cool nights, Pleasant; Low humidity; Low precipitation
  • Winter: December, January; Cool to Cold; Moderate humidity; Low precipitation
  • Spring: February, March; Warm days, Cool nights, Pleasant; Low to moderate humidity; Normal precipitation

Seasons[edit]

Delhi lies in the landlocked Northern Plains of the Indian Subcontinent. Its climate is greatly influenced by its proximity to the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, causing it to experience both weather extremes. Delhi has 5 distinct seasons, viz. Summer, Rainy, Autumn, Winter and Spring.[5] Broadly speaking, Delhi has long and scorching summers- sub-divided into summer and monsoon seasons, short and cold winters, and two bouts of pleasant transition seasons. Two important occurrences influencing Delhi's climate are Western Disturbance and South-West Winds.

Summer[edit]

Summer begins in early April and continues till the end of June, with the heat peaking in May. It is characterized by extreme heat due to nearly overhead sun, low humidity, very hot winds and at times thunderstorms. Delhi's proximity to the Thar Desert results in hot, dry continental winds, called loo, at times blowing all across from the West Asian mainland, making the days feel hotter. These winds, blowing over from vast land stretches, are very hot and dry. Since the Western Disturbance depression moves eastward (and is the reason for cyclonic occurrences in Eastern Coastal areas) by this time of the year, there is no moisture-laden wind to increase humidity. The air therefore remains dry or very dry during day. For most of its summer season, Delhi has a semi-arid climate.[1] Coming from Spring, the city witnesses a spurt in day temperature around early April, whereas nights still remain pleasant. By the latter part of April or during early May, maximum temperatures exceed 40 °C while the ambience remains very dry. Night temperatures cross the 20 °C mark towards the latter part of April. May is Delhi's hottest month during which temperatures may reach 45 °C or higher.[6] This month is characterized by frequent thunderstorms.[7] Dust storms are another feature of Delhi's summer,[8][9] but can be severe and destructive when accompanied by strong winds.[10] These are caused due to fine dust brought along by the hot winds arriving from the desert. They make the surroundings appear pale yellow, bring temperatures slightly down and are usually followed by thunderstorms. Post mid-June, temperatures start falling slowly, while humidity shows a gradual rise. A visual characteristic of summer in Delhi is the summer bloom, particularly the blooming Bougainvillea, Amaltas, Gulmohar, Shireesh and Jacaranda trees, which look spectacular when fully flowering during peak summer in May.[11]

Monsoon[edit]

Monsoon winds arrive in Delhi by either the end of June or the first week of July.[5] The arrival of moisture laden South-Western winds, traveling from the Arabian Sea marks the onset of Rainy season in Delhi. This season is marked by high levels of humidity and high heat. Day temperatures drop below 40 °C as humidity suddenly soars.[12] July is marked by high heat and relatively less precipitation. This transition from scorching to sweltering heat between June and July makes the latter feel very uncomfortable. August is Delhi's wettest month. The heat is considerably reduced and it is relatively cooler for most part of the month. There is dense cloud formation in the sky and at least a week of distinct, very heavy rainfall.[13] By September, the amount and frequency of precipitation drops, though humidity remains high.[14] Towards the end of September, moisture content in the air begins to fall and monsoon ends by early October.

Autumn[edit]

The end of monsoon marks the arrival of a transition season. Autumn arrives by early or mid October, and is marked by very dry ambiance, warm days and pleasant nights. Maximum temperatures drop below 30 °C by late October and there is a gradual fall in average temperature. Minimum temperature drops below 20 °C.[15] During Autumn, the wind direction begins changing from South-Westerly to North-Westerly. This season ends by early December.

Winter[edit]

Winter arrives in Delhi in late November or early December. Minimum temperatures gradually enter single digits by this time of the year, while days are pleasant. Though usually not cold initially, December suddenly becomes cold in the latter half, as chilly north-western winds from the Himalayas begin sweeping the Northern Plains. These cold waves are caused by a depression created Plains by Western Disturbance, which bring cloud cover and occasional winter rains to the Plains, and add to snowfall in the North-Western Indian Subcontinent. By early January, when winter peaks in Delhi, the minimum temperatures plunge to the vicinity of 0 °C,[16] though rarely entering the negative scale. Maximum temperatures, too may drop down into single digits[17] and always stay under 20 °C. When the minimum temperature ventures very close to the 0 °C mark, Delhi witnesses frost.[18] Snow, as of now, is a practical impossibility for Delhi (and the rest of Northern Plains) due to very dry nature of its winter which is caused because of some Siberian Anticyclone- like phenomenon[clarification needed]. Delhi's winter is marked by very dense fog, which dramatically reduces visibility[19] and makes days colder by cutting off sunlight. In the opposite scenario, very cold north-westerly winds from upper reaches of Himalayas blowing across the city makes the days feel colder, despite any sunshine and the nights very cold.[20] Post mid-January, average temperatures begin to rise very gradually, though the rise is almost contained by the cold north-western winds which result due to very heavy snowfall that occurs in the Himalayas during this part of the month.[21] It may rain towards the end of January and the precipitation is usually accompanied by hail,[22] resulting in slight increase in minimum temperatures due to cloud cover. Maximum temperatures again cross 20 °C and days become pleasant. By mid-February or somewhat beyond, minimum temperature crosses the 10 °C mark and days start getting warmer gradually, marking the end of winter. Delhi can sometimes have prolonged season of chill, extending into March; like it had last happened in 2012, when there was chill during March[23] and Spring-like conditions were prevailing during the summer month of April.[24]

Spring[edit]

Around the middle of February, Delhi's climate sees another transition, this time from Winter to Summer. The transition weather is known as Spring and is characterized by warm days, cool nights, dry ambiance and lively natural surroundings.[25] It is pleasant all time and there is brilliant sunshine during the day. February rains[26] are a characteristic of this season. These rains may be accompanied by hail and can be heavy. Average temperatures show a slow, gradual rise as the wind direction shift from North-West to South-West, thereby getting warmer. Spring ends by the latter half of March and the day temperatures exceed 30 °C by then,[27] marking the onset of the next summer!

Climate Data and Extreme Temperatures[edit]

Temperature records for Delhi exist for a period of a little over 100 years. The lowest ever temperature reading during this period is -2.2 °C, recorded on January 11, 1967 at Met Delhi Palam. And, the highest ever temperature reading during the same period is 48.4 °C recorded on May 26, 1998, again at Met Delhi Palam.[4]

Climate data for Delhi (Safdarjung), upto 2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.0
(86)
34.1
(93.4)
40.6
(105.1)
45.6
(114.1)
47.2
(117)
46.7
(116.1)
45.0
(113)
42.0
(107.6)
40.6
(105.1)
39.4
(102.9)
36.1
(97)
29.3
(84.7)
47.2
(117)
Average high °C (°F) 21.1
(70)
24.2
(75.6)
30.0
(86)
36.2
(97.2)
39.6
(103.3)
39.3
(102.7)
35.1
(95.2)
33.3
(91.9)
33.9
(93)
32.9
(91.2)
28.3
(82.9)
23.0
(73.4)
31.41
(88.53)
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.2
(57.6)
17.1
(62.8)
22.7
(72.9)
28.8
(83.8)
32.7
(90.9)
33.8
(92.8)
30.8
(87.4)
29.6
(85.3)
29.1
(84.4)
26.2
(79.2)
20.5
(68.9)
15.6
(60.1)
25.09
(77.18)
Average low °C (°F) 7.3
(45.1)
10.1
(50.2)
15.4
(59.7)
21.5
(70.7)
25.9
(78.6)
28.3
(82.9)
26.6
(79.9)
25.9
(78.6)
24.4
(75.9)
19.5
(67.1)
12.8
(55)
8.2
(46.8)
18.83
(65.87)
Record low °C (°F) −0.6
(30.9)
1.6
(34.9)
4.4
(39.9)
10.7
(51.3)
15.2
(59.4)
18.9
(66)
20.3
(68.5)
20.7
(69.3)
17.3
(63.1)
9.4
(48.9)
3.9
(39)
1.1
(34)
−0.6
(30.9)
Precipitation mm (inches) 20.3
(0.799)
15
(0.59)
15.8
(0.622)
6.7
(0.264)
17.5
(0.689)
54.9
(2.161)
231.5
(9.114)
258.7
(10.185)
127.8
(5.031)
36.3
(1.429)
5
(0.2)
7.8
(0.307)
797.3
(31.391)
Avg. precipitation days 1.7 1.3 1.2 0.9 1.4 3.6 10.0 11.3 5.4 1.6 0.1 0.6 39.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 213.9 217.5 238.7 216.0 263.0 198.0 167.4 167.6 219.0 269.7 246.0 217.3 2,634.1
Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Pune (upto 2010)[28]
Climate data for Delhi (Palam), upto 2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.0
(87.8)
35.7
(96.3)
41.3
(106.3)
45.3
(113.5)
48.4
(119.1)
47.6
(117.7)
45.7
(114.3)
43.2
(109.8)
40.8
(105.4)
39.6
(103.3)
36.4
(97.5)
30.0
(86)
48.4
(119.1)
Record low °C (°F) −2.2
(28)
−1.6
(29.1)
3.4
(38.1)
8.6
(47.5)
14.6
(58.3)
19.8
(67.6)
17.8
(64)
20.2
(68.4)
13.6
(56.5)
9.9
(49.8)
2.1
(35.8)
−1.3
(29.7)
−2.2
(28)
Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Pune (upto 2010)[28]

Weather monitoring stations[edit]

Delhi has two weathering monitoring stations, one at Safdarjung inside the main city and other at Palam on its outskirts near the Airport.

Day-length variation[edit]

Located at 28°36′36″N latitude, Delhi lies in the temperate region, a few latitudes north of the Tropic of Cancer. As such the rotation of earth has its effect on the city's day-length, which shortens during winters and lengthens during summers. Between the two solstices, Delhi's day-length changes by about 4 hours, offset by some 2 hours each at sunrise and sunset.[29][30][31]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Delhi Climate". Weather Spark. 
  2. ^ "Climatological Table". Indian Meteorological Department. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  3. ^ "Fog continues to disrupt flights, trains". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2006-01-07. Retrieved 2006-05-16. 
  4. ^ a b "Ever Recorded Highest Maximum Temperature, Lowest Minimum Temperature and 24 Hours Heaviest Rainfall upto 2010". Indian Met Department, Pune. 
  5. ^ a b [1]
  6. ^ "Weather in May in Delhi". 
  7. ^ "NDTV news on Delhi's thunderstorm". 
  8. ^ "A news mentioning Dust Storm in Delhi". 
  9. ^ "The Tribune's news featuring Delhi's Dust Storm". 
  10. ^ "Strong dust storm in Delhi on May 30, 2014". 
  11. ^ "Amaltas bloom in Delhi during May". 
  12. ^ "Weather in July in Delhi". 
  13. ^ "Weather in August in Delhi". 
  14. ^ "Weather in September in Delhi". 
  15. ^ "Weather in Delhi in November". 
  16. ^ "Delhi shivers at 1.9 degrees Celsius". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2013-01-07. 
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ "When Delhi woke up to 'snow' - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 2006-01-09. 
  19. ^ "An instance of dense fog in Delhi". 
  20. ^ "Cold wave forces schools shut in Delhi". 
  21. ^ "Cold wave, slight rise in temperature on January 20, 2011". 
  22. ^ "Hailstorm in Delhi". 
  23. ^ "Cool March weather surprises Delhi". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2012-03-10. 
  24. ^ "Coldest April in 30 years". 
  25. ^ "Weather in Delhi in February". 
  26. ^ "2013 had heaviest February rains in 70 years". 
  27. ^ "Weather in Delhi in March". 
  28. ^ a b "Climate Data for Safdarjung observatory, Delhi". Indian Meteorological Department, Pune. 
  29. ^ "Delhi Day length around Summer Solstice". timeanddate.com. 
  30. ^ "Delhi Day length around Winter Solstice". timeanddate.com. 
  31. ^ Ashish lives in Delhi and tempature at his home never goes beyond -5 degrees.