India weather bureau says record temperature reading could be sensor ‘error’

2023 hottest recorded year as Earth nears key limit
Source: The News International

India’s government-run weather bureau said Wednesday a station measurement showing a potentially record-breaking temperature in the capital may have been due to a fault in the measuring equipment.

“Mungeshpur reported 52.9 degrees Celsius (127.2 Fahrenheit) as an outlier compared to other stations,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement, referring to a station in a Delhi suburb.

“It could be due to error in the sensor or the local factor. IMD is examining the data and sensors.”

The department said it operates five major weather monitoring sites and 15 automatic weather stations — including the one in Mungeshpur — which take temperature and rainfall observations across the capital.

Apart from Mungeshpur, those sites recorded a maximum temperature over Delhi on Wednesday that “varied from 45.2C to 49.1C”, the statement added.

On Tuesday, two Delhi stations, at Mungeshpur, as well as in Narela, posted readings of 49.9 degrees Celsius.

It was not clear whether those readings were also in question.

In 2022, Delhi temperatures were recorded to have hit 49.2C.

In 2016, 51C was recorded in Phalodi on the edge of Rajasthan’s Thar Desert, the highest confirmed temperature in India.

“Temperature over urban areas varies from place to place,” the bureau added, saying variations could be due to factors such as the “proximity to water bodies, barren land”, parks or dense housing.

Delhi remains sweltering in a heatwave. The IMD this week issued a red alert health notice for the capital, which has an estimated population of more than 30 million people.

The alert warns there is a “very high likelihood of developing heat illness and heat stroke in all ages”, with “extreme care needed for vulnerable people”.

About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

Daily Newsletter