Delhi’s February 7 hailstorm a sign of Climate Change? Nah, just freaky weather

One of the risks around the climate change narrative is to blame practically everything that is abnormal on it. That's a bad idea.

New Delhi, or more precisely, the National Capital Region as Delhi and its surrounding townships are called, witnessed what  most people agreed was a sight rarely seen before. A hailstorm so intense that it seemed to have carpeted large parts of the city and surrounding areas in a bed of white ice, a sight many had never experienced in their lifetimes in the city .

Not Quite Delhi

But its not quite climate change. Regular weather patterns also allow for such ‘deviances’ every now and then, and what we saw was probably case of one such deviance. Mr. BP Yadav, head of the regional meteorological centre, reminded us that hailstorms at this time of the year are pretty normal.  What made it more intense than usual was other factors. A confluence of winds from Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea met over North India, at the same time as jet streams strong winds that were also passing over the plains. The confluence of these three led to low and deep  cloud formation, that eventually dumped all that moisture as rain and hail.

While the immediate effect was actually an  increase in the temperature, the minimum temperatures are likely to drop significantly after 24 to 48 hours again.

Why we believe this needs to be explained is because this is the essence of the difference between weather, and climate. The latter is a far more slow, gradual, and wide spread process, unlike the weather, which is localised, immediate state of your environment.  It’s a distinction President Trump has been unable to make , as he called out global warming when it got really cold due to the polar vortex in the US midwest.

 

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