Is Urbanization Robbing Coimbatore its Winter?

As part of the Long Term Temperature Change series today we focus on Coimbatore to understand how the Winter Temperatures have changed over the years since 1980.  The data which has been used is from the IMD Observatory in Coimbatore Airport (Peelamedu).  Our previous stories in the series covered Chennai & Bengaluru with both places showing some warming trend.

When we did the Bengaluru story we never expected another city in South India could be as bad if not worse alas we were proven wrong very early with “The Manchester of South India”.   Situated at an altitude of about 400 mts above mean sea level it enjoys a salubrious climate for most months of the year with long term residents vouching for a very good winter season. Is the city known for its industrious culture right from the days of G D Naidu paying a price for its urbanization is a question that arises out of this post today.

Before we get into the numbers let us look at how Coimbatore Urban Landscape has changed over the years using Google Earth Satellite Imagery between 1984 and 2016.  The temperature data is from Coimbatore AP which a couple of decades back used to be a distant suburb of Coimbatore.  The temperature here used to trend much lower to the City area of Coimbatore.  The satellite imagery confirms the rapid growth of this metropolis with the airport now no  more a suburb but very much part of the city.

Like the cities of Chennai & Bengaluru the day time temperatures are showing a steady increase at Coimbatore as well but certainly the trend is worrying

  1. Between 1980 and 2000 only one year 1987 saw the Avg Max Temp during Winters cross 31°C.  Subsequently 5 out of 17 years have crossed 31°C
  2. Since 2010 the Avg Max Temp during winters have not gone below 30°C with the average Max Temp since 2010 nearly 0.5°C warmer than the previous decade

The biggest change happening to Coimbatore is in terms of the Night time weather.  The Average Min. Temp during Winters is surely changing for the long term more so since the turn of the millennium.

  1. Between 1980 & 2000 only two years, 1984 and 1998, saw the Avg Min Temp during winters go beyond 20°C but since 2000 we have seen in 6 years the Avg Min exceed 20°C with the last 5 years continuously seeing above 20
  2. Post 2010 the Avg Min Winter Temperature has shot up by 1°C compared to the previous decades which is very alarming by every means

Development and the Urbanization associated with it is inevitable in today’s context but at what cost is a question that needs to be introspected by all sooner than later