A tale of two temperature readings

Did Bengaluru hit 40C Two government agencies give conflicting reportsPTI
news Summer Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - 17:28

By Malavika Balasumbramanian

Although the Garden City is no longer quite so green, Bengalureans are still weather obsessed and have anxieties that their beloved city will never be as cool as it used to be. It’s no wonder then, that anxiety levels marginally shot up over the weekend when it was declared that Bengaluru had hit the 40°C mark.  

This is the second time in a week that Bengaluru’s temperature is being declared as having touched 40°C. However, on both occasions, there ws a slight twist to this issue, as conflicting agencies seemed unable to agree on whether the temperature mark was reached.

On Sunday, the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) said that all parts of Karnataka except Bengaluru Rural, Chikmaglur, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts had hit 40°C. This included districts in northern Karnataka which had recorded temperatures two or three degrees above 40.

However, the Indian Meterological Department’s (IMD) figures, showed Bengaluru was two degrees lower that the recording by the KSNDMC. Several places in north Karnataka too showed different temperature readings.

The Met department has always maintained that it is the only agency in India authorized to make observations on temperature and weather.

“We are the only authorized agency with regard to observations on temperature and weather forecasts. Other agencies map their forecasts based on our observations”, said PN Prasad, duty officer at the IMD, Bengaluru.


Karwar Uttara Kannada3625
MangaluruDakshina Kannada3526
Belagavi District HQ3821
BidarDistrict HQ4328
VijayapuraDistrict HQ4225
Dharwad District HQ3922
GadagDistrict HQ3926
KalaburgiDistrict HQ4430
HaveriDistrict HQ4023
KoppalDistrict HQ4127
RaichurDistrict HQ4332
BengaluruDistrict HQ3825
BallariDistrict HQ--
ChamrajnagarDistrict HQ3821
ChikmaglurDistrict HQ3421
Chitradurga District HQ4025
DavangereDistrict HQ3922
HassanDistrict HQ3620
MandyaDistrict HQ3824
MadikeriDistrict HQ3118
MysuruDistrict HQ3824
ShivamoggaDistrict HQ3923

With the exception of Raichur, the KSNDMC has recorded the temperatures in many places to be higher than that of IMD’s observations by at least 2°C, as in Koppal, Kalaburgi, Bidar, Belagavi, Vijayapura and Haveri.

It has been known that the two agencies employ different methods to measure the temperature.

KSNDMC’s Director Srinivasa Reddy says that its methods of data collection of temperature are “completely automated, with no manual intervention”. However, the IMD uses manual readings of thermometers.

This problem of different temperature readings is not about to end any time soon, because the disaster monitoring cell will continue to record temperature even though the Met department maintains that it is the only, and therefore final, authority on temperature.

Both the Met department and the disaster monitoring cells have different functions.

KSNDMC’s Director Srinivasa Reddy says that it is tasked with recording temperature all over the state. “The IMD has observatories only till the district level, whereas we operate up to the gram panchayat level,” he says.

The disaster monitoring cell’s functions include collection of accurate data and transmission of relevant data to respective authorities. This contributes to the management and mitigation of the effects of droughts, floods, cyclones, hailstorms, heavy winds, storm surges, tsunami, earthquakes, and landslides.

Information collection is done with the intention to help the general public, and also specific groups of people such as the agrarian community, fisherfolk, and personnel in transport, power and energy, irrigation and other sectors.

The Met department on the other hand, monitors all weather phenomena to provide information not just for weather forecasts and disaster warnings, but also for activities such as agriculture, water resource management, industries, oil exploration, shipping and aviation. 

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