The India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials have said Bengaluru has been witnessing warm January evenings, with one of the warmest days in the last decade reported in this January.
IMD officials attribute the increase in temperature to the cloudy sky at night, excess moisture in the wind and increased humidity.
As per the climatological table for the city from 1981 to 2010, the average daily maximum temperature for January is 27.9 degrees Celsius, and the minimum 15.8 degrees Celsius.
According to IMD officials, the warmest January day was reported on January 31, 2020, at 33.4 degrees Celsius and on Saturday the city recorded 30.2 degrees Celsius, which is one of the highest in the recent past.
The temperature on Saturday was 3 degrees above normal for this time of the year and the minimum temperature was 17.4 degree Celsius, 2 degrees above normal.
The IMD officials said northerly and north easterly winds bring in winter. But due to a change in the wind patterns, northerly wind has been cut off.
The easterly wind is prevailing over the state and is known to pick up moisture and cause rainfall or increase humidity, they added.
A study by the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy projected that over the next three decades, Karnataka is likely to experience warmer weather and an increase in heavy rainfall events.
According to the study, in the past three decades (1991–2019), there has been an increase in maximum temperature by 0.18 degrees Celsius to 0.61 degrees Celsius in summer and the winter minimum temperature by 0.3 degrees Celsius to 0.65 degrees Celsius in Karnataka.
“Climate change projections using an ensemble of models for the next 30 years (2021–2050) under moderate emissions and high emissions scenarios indicate a much warmer and wetter future for Karnataka. An increase in summer maximum temperature by 0.5 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius with a majority of the districts projected to warm by 1 degree Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius, particularly under the high emissions scenario,” the study reported.
Weather change owing has raised concerns over a spike in cases of common cold, cough and fever, which are Covid-19 symptoms as well.
Doctors have warned against ignoring them and advised people to get tested.
“This is not the time to ignore typical symptoms of Covid unless proven otherwise. One must get tested in such cases and self-isolate first. One should not take the symptoms saying it is due to the weather change,” said Vikas Bhalla, a city-based internal medicine expert.
The state government has said with more people reporting symptoms of Covid-19 since January, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) – the civic body – will increase testing.
BBMP commissioner Gaurav Gupta said despite the new testing advisory from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the testing pattern in the city will not change.
The ICMR on Monday said contacts of Covid-19 patients do not need to be tested unless identified as high-risk based on age or comorbidities.
Gupta told HT that the state government had decided to continue with the current testing patterns, and he said in view of the rising cases, testing will be increased in the state.
“We will continue to test contacts of Covid-19 patients and all other categories we have been testing so far. In fact, we will increase testing in the coming days. We will also identify high-risk groups such as delivery boys and other professionals and conduct random testing,” he said.