Maximum Temperature Recorded in India, 1996-2010

First things first- if you are wondering why the chart stops at 2010 and does not have more up to date data, blame the India Meteorological Department, Pune. The 'free' data does not go beyond 2010. You need to pay this institution if you wnat access to comprehensive precious weather data. You would think an institution funded by your tax money would make its findings free to the taxpayers but you would be mistaken. You can browse through a 'example estimate' pricing scenario posted on the IMD website.

Now that our outrage about the IMD's data policy is out of the way, we would like to draw your attention to the chart of this week- highest temperatures recorded annually in the country in recent years. Phalodi has been in the news for the past few days after it recorded a searing temperature of 51 degree celsius, the highest temperature ever recorded in India. But it looks like Phalodi is no stranger to record high temperatures. It recorded the highest temperature in the country in 2009 and 2010 as well. Some readers might wonder why the 1997 high is a mere 44.2. We wondered as well and our hypothesis is that only a few stations reported their highs in 1997, 44.2 as an annual high in India does beggar belief.

What does all this mean? Obviously it would be preposterous to draw any meaningful global warming related conclusions from such a small sample size but the IMD has indeed released a report on the general warming trend in India after analyzing surface temperature data for more than 100 years. More urgently, it means that the central, state, and local governments need to launch campaigns educating citizens about the health hazards associated with such extreme temperatures and measures to counter them. Lastly, India needs some urgent innovation around affordable and energy efficient cooling solutions for homes.