The India Meteorological Department on Monday said this March was the third warmest in 121 years in terms of monthly average maximum temperature.

In its monthly weather review, the IMD said average maximum, minimum and mean temperature for the country as a whole last month was 32.65 degrees Celsius, 19.95 degrees Celsius and 26.30 degrees Celsius, respectively. This was against the normal 31.24 degrees Celsius, 18.87 degrees Celsius and 25.06 degrees Celsius, based on the climatology period from 1981 to 2010.

“The all India average monthly maximum temperature during March 2021 with 32.65 degrees Celsius is the warmest in the last 11 years, and third warmest in the last 121 years with 2010 and 2004 as the ever warmest and second warmest month with 33.09 degrees Celsius and 32.82 degrees Celsius, respectively,” the weather department said.

[Credit: India Meteorological Department]

The IMD said severe heat wave conditions were witnessed in West Rajasthan from March 29 to 31. The highest maximum temperature of 44.6 Celsius was recorded at Baripada in Odisha on March 30, it added.

Several parts of the country had recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in March. Researchers say this could be due to the Arctic region warming up like never before.

In its summer forecast, the IMD had warned that most parts of India will record above normal temperatures between April and June. Officials from the weather department said that several regions in east, central and northwest India were also recording heatwaves much earlier than expected. Over the past 10 years, heatwaves have occurred beginning from April and would intensify only by May.