The purpose of this paper is to analyse the trends and variability in extreme temperature indices. We examined climatological distribution of heat and cold waves of two important agro-climatic zones (South Bihar Alluvial Zone-IIIA and B), which is part of the middle Indo-Gangetic Basin and comprising 17 densely populated (1108 persons/km²) districts of Bihar state. We used series of daily maximum and minimum temperature data from 1969 to 2013 of seven stations to calculate temperature indices, from which the trend, occurrence, duration and severity of heat and cold waves were estimated. Results revealed that, in a period of 45 years, zone-IIIA and B has experienced 251/182 and 337/140 average number of heat and cold events, respectively. Although the zone-IIIA on average is experiencing ≥8 heat and cold wave days per season, both these high frequency temperature extremes are decreasing at the rate 0.15 and 0.17 per year, respectively, with significance at 95% confidence level. Zone-IIIB on average is experiencing ≤5 heat and cold days per season, but heat waves have been found increasing at the rate 0.11 per year, whereas, a non-significant decreasing rate of 0.04/year was observed in cold waves. The study also inferred that heat waves of the month of May in zone-IIIA and of June in zone-IIIB are more frequent, hotter and longer than other months of hot weather period under study, whereas, the cold waves of month January are more frequent and longer, in both zones.
Volume 131, 2022
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