Why is January not as cold as expected this year?

Published On: January 12, 2021 07:30 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The temperature in the Kathmandu Valley is almost two degree Celsius higher than the average, meteorologists say

KATHMANDU, Jan 13: After a few days of cold weather, the temperature started to rise across the country. Unlike in previous years, the weather is not as cold as expected, and it does not feel that we are almost in the middle of January.

On Tuesday, the Kathmandu Valley recorded the highest temperature of 21.8 degree Celsius and the lowest temperature of 5.4 degree Celsius. “The temperature is almost one to two degrees higher than the regular temperature Kathmandu used to have in mid-January,” said Barun Paudel, a meteorologist at the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

“There are multiple factors behind the increase in the temperature in January. In previous years, the Kathmandu Valley would see rainfall in early January. After rainfall, the temperature plummets, and the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley used to witness snowfall,” said Poudel, adding that it has been almost three-four months since the Valley witnessed rainfall.

“After rainfalls and snowfalls, the temperature used to plummet significantly. The weather remains the same as there is no prediction of rainfall in the Valley,” Poudel said.

This winter, the lowest temperature the Valley has recorded is 0.8 degree Celsius in late December.

Meteorologists also said that the westerly wind brings cold breeze to the Valley in this season, resulting in the lowering of temperature. “This winter, there has been less westerly disturbance, so the temperature is above the average. The westerly wind brings cold wind triggering rainfall,” said Poudel.

In previous years, the Kathmandu Valley used to record the lowest temperature of 1-2 degree Celsius in mid-January.

The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology has predicted that there will be a slight rise in temperature on Tuesday night. Also, no rainfall is predicted. “The weather will be partly to generally cloudy in Province 1, Province 2, Bagmati Province, Gandaki Province and Lumbini Province, mainly fair in the rest of the country. Light rain is likely to occur only at one or two places of Province 1, Province 2, Bagmati Province, Gandaki Province and Lumbini Province,” according to the Department.

“There has been no winter rain. The days are getting warmer as there are clouds in the sky,” Ram Charitra Shah, an environmental scientist, told Republica.

He also said that there has been no westerly wind bringing cold air into Kathmandu. “Dry air is coming into the Valley, and there are no signs of rainfall yet,” he said.

In the meantime, the Kathmandu Valley in early January made a record of having the worst air quality in the world. With fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standing at 401.67 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), the air quality of the Valley was ranked as the worst in the world on January 5.

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