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Delhi’s record 52.9°C temperature on May 29 had ‘3°C sensor error’, Kiren Rijiju cites IMD report

The Indian government on Saturday said the record temperature of 52.9 degree Celsius registered on May 29 in Mungeshpur area of the national capital Delhi, was wrong by 3 degree Celsius due tomalfunctioning in weather sensors.

The temperature recorded on Wednesday, May 29, in the Mungeshpur area of Delhi was the highest ever recorded across the country.

Taking to microblogging platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju said the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had investigated the reading by the AWS weather station at Mungeshpur, “and found a 3°C sensor error.”

“Corrective measures are now in place,” the minister added.

“On 29th May 2024, Mungeshpur’s AWS (Automatic Weather Station) reported a temperature of 52.9°C; our @Indiametdept team quickly investigated and found a 3°C sensor error. Corrective measures are now in place,” Rijiju wrote.

Citing a draft report submitted by a committee chaired by IMD experts, the minister said, “A committee chaired by Mrs Ranju Madan, Sc-G, comprising experts from IMD, was tasked to review this anomaly. The committee’s investigation included an evaluation of the AWS sensor at Mungeshpur and comparisons with other AWSs in Delhi.” 

“Their findings revealed a positive bias in the temperature readings, with AWS at Mungeshpur reporting temperatures approximately 3 degrees higher than standard instruments during the peak temperature period,” Rijiju added.

The committee also found no significant temperature discrepancies reported by other Delhi AWS stations.

Also Read | Delhi residents chase water tanker amid severe water crisis & heatwaves 

The experts also recommended that the Surface Instrument Division in Pune examine and calibrate the AWS temperature sensors periodically for all the AWS. It also recommended a Factory Acceptance Test in different temperatures and routine maintenance of the AWS installed nationwide.

“If possible, a third-party audit should be done to authenticate the data quality of AWS. Stringent automatic quality control should be applied to the observed data from AWS before uploading to the (IMD) website for the general public and various users,” the Earth Sciences Minister said.

Since 1875, the IMD has been recording weather parameters at conventional observatories. At present, the weather agency operates over 550 surface observatories for weather forecasting, but this manual network is insufficient for continuous monitoring of weather systems like cyclones and monsoons.

The highest temperature previously recorded in New Delhi was 48.4 C (119.12 F) in May 1998, the draft IMD report said.


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Published: 01 Jun 2024, 07:37 PM IST