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Early Arrival of AC Season: Exploring Pune’s Unusually Warm February Nights

Early Arrival of Air Conditioner Season in Pune Due to Unusually Warm Nights

Residents of Pune are experiencing unusually warm nights for February, leading to an early start to the season for fans and air conditioners. In a twist that signals changing weather patterns, the city’s nocturnal temperatures are nearing records set over half a century ago, causing discomfort and disrupted sleep for many.

The Pune weather station at Shivajinagar recently reported a minimum nighttime temperature of 18.1°C, marking a significant departure of about 5° above what is typically expected this time of year. Similarly, the Lohegaon area witnessed a minimum temperature reaching 20.6°C, nearly 6° above the norm. These conditions are reminiscent of some of the warmest February nights recorded in Pune since 1969, with the all-time high for this month reaching 20.1°C back in February 1978.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), this February has been particularly warm across central and southern India, with Maharashtra experiencing minimum temperatures that are 1-3° higher than average. Daytime temperatures, too, have been 1-2° above normal.

Anupam Kashyapi, from the IMD’s Pune forecasting division, explains this unusual warmth as a result of moisture inflow from the Bay of Bengal, propelled by south-southeasterly and southerly winds. This moisture influx, coupled with specific wind interactions over Maharashtra, has led to an increase in minimum temperatures across the region. Additionally, the presence of medium to high clouds over the city at night has acted like a thermal blanket, trapping the day’s warmth and preventing it from dissipating into the atmosphere.

The warmer nights have not been confined to certain areas but have been widespread across Pune, with locales such as Chinchwad, Lavale, Magarpatta, and Koregaon Park recording minimum temperatures in the range of 22.4°C to 23.9°C.

Climate experts suggest that the interaction of winds over north-central Maharashtra could maintain elevated nighttime temperatures into early March, disappointing those hoping for a reprieve. However, independent weather analyst Abhijit Modak points out that temperatures in February can vary significantly, recalling February 2019 when temperatures ranged from a frigid 5.1°C to a balmy 19.2°C. Looking ahead, a Western Disturbance impacting northern India could bring a temporary dip in temperatures across Maharashtra, including Pune, potentially providing some short-lived relief.

The impact of these unusually warm nights reaches into the homes of Pune residents, many of whom have found little choice but to turn to artificial cooling methods for comfort. “Warm nights have left many feeling uncomfortable and restless,” shared Aradhana Tiwari, a Pune homemaker, highlighting the rising reliance on fans and air conditioning units. Similarly, student Aditya Singh noted a marked shift in nighttime attire and bedding preferences, moving away from winter’s heavier layers to lighter, more breathable options in response to the warmth.

This early onset of warmer temperatures serves as a stark reminder of the broader impacts of climate change, touching on the economic (through increased electricity bills) and lifestyle adjustments necessitated by shifts in historical weather patterns. As Pune adapts to its unexpectedly warm February nights, the occurrence prompts a broader conversation on sustainability and preparedness for the evolving climate.

Ethan Wilder

Ethan Wilder is a conservation photographer and videographer whose lens captures the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world and the critical challenges it faces. With a focus on wilderness preservation and animal rights, Ethan's work is a poignant reminder of what is at stake. His photo essays and narratives delve into the heart of environmental issues, combining stunning visuals with compelling storytelling. Ethan offers a unique perspective on the role of art in activism, inviting readers to witness the planet's wonders and advocating for their protection.

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