Chennai Airport sees hottest April since 2000, Is there a Long Term Warming?

Its a common joke that Chennai has only three seasons, “Hot, Hotter & Hottest” using this analogy we are in the cusp between Hotter & Hottest season with May signalling the hottest season for us.  For most people elsewhere the first thing that strikes when one mentions Chennai is its heat, you hear it regularly from the cricket commentators especially during those test matches played in Chennai.  Similarly we always keep hearing the city is getting hotter and hotter as days progress is there any merit in that argument? Let us find out.

If one were to look at the temperature trends of Chennai between the Meenambakkam & Nungambakkam while its obvious Chennai Airport is on more occasions than not the hotter place but during the early part of this millennium the difference between the two places was not as big as how things have panned out over the last few years.

A few other highlights which is worth mentioning and possibly one that merits an individual study as well

  1. Chennai Meenambakkam has seen its hottest April since 2000 going by the average maximum temperatures for the month.  Possibly for the first time we could be seeing the possibility of the average maximum temperatures during April has breached the 100°F mark.
  2. April 2017 also has seen the highest number of 100°F days 14 in all as of today with possibly one more expected today.  2016 saw the second highest number of 100°F days with 9 in all for the month of April.
  3. Overall since 2009 there is a warming trend seen in the data with every April seeing a couple of 100°F days unlike the earlier years where it was not a regular feature.  Similarly during this period the average maximum temperature has not gone below 35 indicating the overall warming trend.  Is this a long term trend? This needs to be studied in detail as Nungambakkam does not indicate a similar trend.
  4. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction while Meenambakkam has seen an increase of more than 0.5°C in the average maximum temperatures between last and this year Nungambakkam to the contrary has seen a decline compared to last year.
  5. 2006 confirms why Chennai possibly sees its worst weather when a Cyclone forms in Bay of Bengal and moves towards the Bangladesh / Myanmar.  Due to Cyclone Mala the last 3 days of April saw continuous 42°C under Westerly winds in Meenambakkam as Cyclone Mala moved on its way towards Myanmar.

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