Climate change: India

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Indpaedia prefers the expression ‘climate change’ to ‘global warming’ because ‘climate change’ not only covers ‘global warming,’ it also includes phenomena such as snowfall in regions that had never seen snow and erratic rainfall.

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Climate change (issues)

1880-2017: Change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperature

March 8, 2018: The Times of India

1880-2017- Change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperature
From: March 8, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

1880-2017- Change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperature


Most states show rising temp trend in 100-yr period: Report

Most of the states in the country showed a significant increasing temperature trend for the period 1901-2022 with Himachal recording the highest increase followed by Goa and Kerala, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its state of climate report on Friday, reports Vishwa Mohan.
The long-term data released by the Pune-based Climate Research and Services (CRS) division of the Met department shows that Himachal recorded the highest increase in mean temperature trend with values at 1.5 degree celsius per 100 years. Goa recorded 1.44 degree celsius increase followed by Kerala at 1.05 degree celsius over the 100 years of period.


Statement on Climate of India during 2022


The annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over India during 2022 was+0.510C above the long-term average (1981-2010 period). The year 2022 was the fifth warmest year on record since nationwide records commenced in 1901. However, this is lower than the highest warming observed over India during 2016 (anomaly of +0.710C) and higher than the previous year 2021 (anomaly of +0.440C).

The all India mean temperatures during the winter (January to February) season was normal with anomaly of -0.04°C while during other seasons, it was above normal ( pre-monsoon (March to May) season (anomaly of ±1.06°C), monsoon (June to September) season (anomaly of +0.36°C) and post-monsoon (October to December) season (anomaly of +0.52°C).

Global mean temperature in 2022 is currently estimated to be 1.15 ± 0.13 °C above the pre- industrial (1850-1900) average, likely making the past eight years (2015-2022) the warmest on record. Despite La Niña conditions keeping global temperature low for the second consecutive year, 2022 is still most likely to be 5th or 6th warmest year on record.(Source:

The 2022 rainfall over the country as a whole was 108% of its Long Period Average (LPA) value based on the period 1971-2020. The winter season rainfall was 147% of its LPA, pre-monsoon season rainfall was 99% of its LPA, rainfall during the southwest monsoon season was 106 % of its LPA and rainfall during post monsoon season was 119% of its LPA.

During 2022, 15 cyclonic disturbances (three cyclonic storms and 12 depressions) formed over the north Indian Ocean against the normal of 11.2 based on data of 1965-2021. It included three cyclones, seven depressions formed over Bay of Bengal and three depressions over Arabian Sea and two land depressions. In addition to these, extreme weather events like extremely heavy rainfall, floods, landslide, lightning, thunderstorm, droughts etc were also experienced in various parts of the country.


The annual mean land surface air temperature for the country during the year 2022 was +0.51°C above the 1981-2010 average, thus making the year 2022 the fifth warmest year on record since 1901 (Fig. 1). The five warmest years on record, in descending order were 2016 (+0.71°C), 2009(+0.55°C), 2017 (+0.541°C), 2010 (+0.539°C) and 2022 (+0.51°C). It may be mentioned that 11 out of the 15 warmest years were during the recent fifteen years (2008- 2022). The past decade (2012-2021/ 2013-2022) was also the warmest decade on record with the decadal averaged annual mean temperature anomaly (Actual-LPA) of 0.37°C /0.41°C. The country averaged annual mean temperature during 1901-2022 showed a significant increasing trend of 0.64°C /100 years (Fig.1) while a significant increasing trend was observed in maximum temperature (1.0°C /100 years) and a relatively lower increasing trend (0.28°C /100 years) in minimum temperature.

The pre-monsoon period was exceptionally hot in 2022.The country averaged seasonal mean temperature was normal during the winter season (January- February, with an anomaly of -0.04°C) while the pre-monsoon season (March-May, with an anomaly of +1.06°C), monsoon season (June- September, with an anomaly of +0.36°C) and post-monsoon season (October- December, with anomaly +0.52°C) were above normal.

The country averaged 2022 monthly mean temperatures for the country during 2022 were above normal for the ten months of the year except for January and February (anomaly 0.09°C, -0.16°C respectively) where it was normal. The All India mean temperature during the month of March with an anomaly of +1.61°C and April with an anomaly of +1.36°Cwere second highest since 1901and December with an anomaly of +1.00°C was the highest since 1901. The maximum temperature was the highest and the minimum temperature was the third highest for the month of March since 1901. The maximum temperature was the third highest and the minimum temperature was the second highest for the month of April since 1901. Both the maximum temperature and minimum temperature were the second highest for the month of December since 1901.

The temperatures were consistently 3°C-8°C above normal for more than 6 days during the month of March and April 2022 breaking many decadal and some all-time records in several parts of the country, including the western Himalayas, the plains of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The states of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Jharkhand also experienced heatwaves, in some areas severe, with temperatures ranging from 40°C–44°C towards end of March. The heatwave conditions continued into April, reaching its preliminary peak towards the end of the month. Heatwaves also increase the risk of forest-fires. By April 29, almost 70 percent of India was affected by the heatwave. Towards the end of April and in May, the heatwave extended into the coastal areas and eastern parts of India.

Anomalously high temperatures during these months adversely affected grain filling and caused early senescence, thus reducing crop yields, especially wheat.


The Indian Monsoon onset was earlier than normal and the withdrawal was later than normal this year. The majority of the Indian Subcontinent received high precipitation totals. The annual rainfall averaged over the country was 108% of its long-period average (LPA) based on data of 1971-2020. The time series of percentage departure of annual rainfall over the country as a whole since 1901 is shown in Fig. 2. Rainfall over the country as a whole during the southwest monsoon season (June-September), which is the principal rainy season of the country, was normal (106 % of LPA). During this monsoon season, among the four broad geographical regions of the country, South Peninsular India received seasonal rainfall which is 122% of its LPA; Central India and Northwest India received seasonal rainfall which is 119% and101%of its LPA respectively while East & Northeast India received seasonal rainfall which is 82% of its LPA.

The 2022 Northeast/ post-monsoon season (October-December) rainfall over the country as a whole was above normal (119% of LPA). The seasonal rainfall during the post-monsoon season over the core region of the south peninsula (comprising of 5 subdivisions viz. Coastal Andhra Pradesh & Yanam, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu Puducherry & Karaikal, South Interior Karnataka, and Kerala & Mahe), was normal (110% of LPA).

The flood associated with heavy rainfall affected many parts of the country. Especially, the state of Assam faced severe floods and landslides since April 6, 2022 due to pre-monsoon showers followed by south-west monsoon 2022. Heavy rainfall in Bangalore on 5th September caused urban floods in most parts of the city resulting in traffic bottlenecks, power outages, flooded houses and inundated roads. Standardized Precipitation Index

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is an index used for monitoring drought conditions and is based on precipitation. This index is negative for dry, and positive for wet conditions. As the dry or wet conditions become more severe, the index becomes more negative or positive. Fig.3 gives the district-wise SPI values for the year 2022. Cumulative SPI values of the past twelve months indicate extremely wet-severely wet conditions over parts of A & N Islands, Assam & Meghalaya, Sub Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh state, Rajasthan state, Madhya Pradesh state, Gujarat Region, Konkan& Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu, North Interior Karnataka, South Interior Karnataka and Lakshadweep. While extremely dry-severely dry conditions were observed over parts of Assam & Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh state and Chhattisgarh. Impacts of Extreme Weather Events 2022 Tropical Cyclones in the Indian Seas:

In 2022, there were three cyclones formed over the north Indian Ocean. Of these, two were Severe Cyclonic Storms “ASANI” and “MANDOUS” and one was Cyclonic Storm “SITRANG”.All the cyclones formed over the Bay of Bengal.

Among these 3 cyclones, the Severe Cyclonic Storm MANDOUS (6 December to 10 December) formed in the post-monsoon season over the Bay of Bengal, crossed north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Puducherry and Sriharikota, close to Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) on 9th December as a cyclonic storm, claimed 6 lives from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh &Puducherry.

The other Severe Cyclonic Storm ASANI, (7May to 12 May) formed during the pre-monsoon season over the Bay of Bengal, crossed the Andhra Pradesh coast on 11th May as a deep depression, claimed 17 livestock & some damage in Andhra Pradesh.

The Cyclonic Storm SITRANG (22 October to 25 October), formed during the post-monsoon season & crossed the Bangladesh coast on 24th October as a cyclonic storm. It caused some damage in Assam & Mizoram.

However, two cyclones viz. ASANI &SITRANG did not claim any human lives.

The tracks of these cyclonic storms formed during the year are shown in figure 4.

Impact of Extreme Weather Events:

Other than Tropical Cyclones, various parts of the country also experienced Extreme Weather Events like extremely heavy rainfall, landslide, lightning, thunderstorm, etc.There was also significant flooding in India at various stages during the monsoon season, particularly in the north-east in June 2022. A few of them are listed below. The causalities caused by these extreme events mentioned here are based on the media and the government reports from Disaster Management Authorities.

Deaths due to Impacted Extreme Weather Events & associated loss of life, distribution of the Number of Deaths & its percentage, State-wise Distribution of the Number of Deaths and State-wise Number of Districts affected during 2022 are shown in Fig.5, 6, 7, 8respectively.

Bihar, Assam & Uttar Pradesh were the worst affected states during 2022, which reportedly claimed more than 400, 250 and 200 deaths respectively mainly due to thunderstorms, lightning, extremely heavy rainfall, floods and landslide events.

Heavy rainfall, floods & Landslide incidents claimed over 830 lives from different parts of the country. Of these, 198 lives were lost from Assam, 116 from Maharashtra, 98 from Uttar Pradesh, 75 from Himachal Pradesh, 56 from Manipur (due to a Massive Landslide in Noney district on 30th June), 48 from Rajasthan and 43 from Jammu & Kashmir and remaining from other states.

Thunderstorms and lightning claimed more than 1280 lives from different parts of the country. Among these, the significant reported deaths were; 415 from Bihar, 122 from Jharkhand, 168 from Odisha, 116 from Madhya Pradesh, 81 from Uttar Pradesh, 78 from Rajasthan, 71 from Chhattisgarh, 64 from Maharashtra, 58 from Assam& remaining from other states.

Other events like snowfall, cold waves, heat waves, dust storms, gales, and hailstorms also affected different parts of the country including loss of life, injury, loss of livestock & damage to crops & public and private property.

1960-2010: Rain clouds thinning out in west, central India

Subodh Varma, Rain clouds thinning out in west & central India , June 15, 2017: The Times of India

Study of low clouds during monsoon, 1960-2010; The Times of India, June 15, 2017

Low-flying clouds that usu ally bring rain in the monsoon have thinned out and reduced over the years out and reduced over the years in India, according to a study of 50 years of observations by the Indian Met department.This means that there will be more number of hotter days, less rainy days and more days with large difference between day and night temperatures.

That's the average for the whole country over all seasons. In the monsoon season, which brings over 70% of rain to India, most of the northern plains stretching from Punjab to Bihar showed increased low-cloud cover by 4-8% every decade. But on the Western co ast and central India, low-cloud cover is declining by 4-6% per decade, which means less rain and more heat.

The IMD study has worrying implications for India because over half of farming is still dependent on rains. More or less rain can affect crop yields play ing havoc with food security and the economy .More hot days also affects large numbers of people.

Low clouds are usually those found up to 6,500 feet.They are very difficult to study and predict but have a great impact on trapping heat as also rain bearing.Changing climate has induced further unpredictability in their behavior.

The study , conducted by A K Jaswal, P A Kore and Virendra Singh of the IMD, did not say why this decline in low clouds is taking place, although they speculate that increasing particulate matter, called aerosols, made up of smoke and dust may be one cause.

2010-19: the hottest decade; 2019: 7th warmest year

Amit Bhattacharya, January 7, 2020: The Times of India

Annual mean temperature anomalies (Degrees C) in India, 1901- 2019
From: Amit Bhattacharya, January 7, 2020: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Heat from rising global temperatures is also singeing India, which experienced its warmest decade (2010-2019) on record, with temperatures in the country 0.36°C higher than average, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The past year was also the seventh warmest on record and was the 22nd straight year of higher-than-average annual temperatures across the country, IMD's statement on climate of India during 2019, released on Monday, said.

In a sign that India was warming in pace with the accelerated rate of global warming in recent years, the average temperature during 2010-2019 was significantly higher than the 0.23°C warming recorded in the previous decade.

"The impact of global warming on India is unmistakable," IMD head Mrityunjay Mohapatra said.

It is also leading to weather extremes, which were quite in evidence in 2019," said Mrityunjay Mohapatra, head of IMD. The warmest year in India on record was 2016, when the mean temperature in the country was 0.71°C higher than average, with the first half of the year affected by El Niño conditions. The warming of 0.36°C in 2019 was significantly lower than that, partly because of record cold conditions in north India in December, but it was yet another exceptionally warm year as compared to historical annual mean temperatures in India.

"The past year had extreme weather during all seasons. There were strong heat waves in Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, the highest monsoon rainfall across India in 25 years, record number of cyclones over the Arabian Sea, followed by record daytime chill in north India in December. India had a high number of deaths due to lightning and thunderstorms as well," Mohapatra said.

The global mean temperature during the first 10 months of 2019 was 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. It said that the past year is likely to be the second or third warmest year on record.

Drought: caused by heavy Himalayan snowfall

April 23, 2010: The Times of India

‘Heavy Himalayan snowfall cause of drought in India’

Reading University Study Explains Reason For Poor Monsoon

Ashis Ray | TNN 2010

London: Reading University, one of UK’s leading research centres, claims to have solved a riddle that has perplexed scientists since the 19th century. An intensive study carried out by it has reached the conclusion that heavy snowfall over the Himalayas in winter and spring can be the direct cause of drought in India, especially in the early part of the summer monsoon.

Given that last winter was quite severe and mammoth quantities of snow may have fallen on the Himalayan range, all concerned in the Indian agrarian sector need to be vigilant about a delayed monsoon and plan accordingly. This is what the report appears to suggest.

Dr Andy Turner, lead author of the research at Walker Institute of the university, said: ‘‘Our work shows how, in the absence of a strong influence from the tropical Pacific, snow conditions over the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau could be used to help forecast seasonal monsoon rainfall for India, particularly over northern India during the onset month of June.’’

These findings are highly significant because Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on early rainfall; a lack of this in the crucial growing season tends to have a devastating impact on crops, as was experienced last year. The work is a part of Reading’s Climate Programme of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS).

Scientists have known since the 1880s that increased snow over the Himalayas can be linked with weaker summer monsoon rains in India. However, according to Reading, the mechanisms explaining this correlation have never been properly understood. The latest research shows that greater snowfall reflects more sunlight and produces a cooling over the Himalayas. This in turn means a weakening of the monsoon winds that bring rain to India.

The relationship is said to be strongest in the absence of warm (El Nino) or cold (La Nina) environments in the tropical Pacific, since these are normally the dominant control factors over the Indian rains. A spokesperson for Reading university said its research is based on extensive experiments with the British Met Office/Hadley Centre climate model.

2016: first normal rains since 2013

The performance of the monsoon, 2016

Amit Bhattacharya, Country gets first normal rains in 3 yrs, The Times of India Oct 2016

Overall Deficit Down By 11% Since Last Year

For the first time in three years, the country received normal rainfall in the monsoon season, which ended on Friday with an overall shortfall of 3% -within the normal range of +-4% but less than what the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast.

Despite the IMD prediction of an “above normal“ monsoon not materialising, good rains in the crucial July-early August period boosted kharif sowing. Thereafter, bountiful showers in central India and Telangana also ended successive years of drought in these regions.

This was a welcome change from the drought years, when the deficit was 12% (2014) and 14% (2015).

The granary of the north -Punjab, Haryana and western UP -had to contend with another year of deficit rains. Punjab and Haryana ended with deficits of 28% and 27%, respectively , while western UP had a shortfall of 17%. Among the four regions, monsoon was above the long period average in just central India (+6%).

Of the 36 meteorological subdivisions, monsoon was excess or normal in 27 and deficient in nine. However, 201 districts (36%) recorded deficient monsoon .

Much of the shortfall can be traced to a period of low rain from August 10 to mid-Sep tember. “Conditions in the Indian Ocean became unfavourable around that time,“ said D Sivananda Pai, IMD's lead monsoon forecaster.


1956- 2005: ‘Human activities sole cause of warming’

Amit Bhattacharya, Human activities sole cause for warmer India, June 13, 2018: The Times of India

1956 to 2005: The rise in mean temperatures in various parts of India, and the causes.
From: Amit Bhattacharya, Human activities sole cause for warmer India, June 13, 2018: The Times of India

Scientists have for the first time shown that greenhouse gases (GHGs) released by human activities are solely responsible for the warming climate in India, where average temperatures have risen by as much as half a degree in five decades.

Alarmingly, the researchers found that the warming caused by GHGs across India was more than three times what was actually observed during this period. That the warming was confined to 0.5 degree Celsius was due to the cooling effects of pollution, another by-product of the use of fossil fuels.

The findings by IIT Delhi scientists were published on Tuesday in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Group. For the study, the researchers looked at temperatures from 1956 to 2005.

“Our main finding is that greenhouse gases have raised India’s temperatures much more than what we have experienced but it has been offset substantially by aerosols and land use change. Importantly, there was no contribution to warming from natural causes,” said IIT professor Krishna AchutaRao, who co-authored the study.

While warming is a worldwide trend that has been scientifically linked to GHG emissions, this is the first study to trace the cause of rising temperatures in India to such emissions.

The IIT research has crucial implications for the fight against air pollution. “The findings suggest that there could be a sharper increase in warming as we reduce air pollution,” AchutaRao said.

According to the models used by AchutaRao and other authors, the warming contributed by natural factors was just 0.005 degree C, while GHGs caused about 1.85 degree C warming. The pollution and land use change was seen to have led to a cooling of 1.2 degrees C, resulting in about 0.65 degree C net warming. This compared well with the observed warming of about 0.5 degree C.

The IIT study found the sharpest rise in temperatures in the western Himalayas, specifically J&K and adjoining areas. It found that GHGs accounted for a warming of as much as 3 degrees Celsius during the 50-year period. “Other anthropogenic factors” (pollution, land use change) offset this rise by 1.5 degrees C, resulting in a net rise of 1.5 degrees.

Western Himalayas was among the seven homogeneous temperature regions in the country the researchers looked at. The others were east coast, west coast, interior peninsula, northwest India, northeast and north-central India. Northeast and north-central India were the only regions that showed no significant warming during the period under study.

The authors – Dileepkumar R, AchutaRao and T Arulalan – used two observational temperature datasets together with results from a multi-model archive of forced and unforced simulations. They estimated the contribution of natural and anthropogenic (human-caused) influences through a two-signal optimal fingerprinting analysis.

The study further isolated the anthropogenic influences due to GHGs from other human-induced factors to arrive at their results.

“We can attribute surface temperature changes over India between 1956 and 2005 to anthropogenic forcing mostly by greenhouse gases and partially offset by other anthropogenic forcings including aerosols and land use land cover change,” the study concluded.

Cost of climate change

$9-10 billion annually

Vishwa Mohan, Climate change costs India $10bn every yr, August 18, 2017: The Times of India

Extreme weather events are costing India $9-10 billion annually and climate change is projected to impact farm productivity with increasing severity from 2020 to the end of the century .

In a recent submission to a parliamentary committee, the agriculture ministry said productivity decrease of major crops will be marginal in the next few years but could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather.

Wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables will see reduced yields over the years, forcing farmers to either adapt to challenges of climate change or face the risk of getting poorer. Adaptation will need different cropping pat terns and suitable inputs to compensate yield fluctuations.

The possibility of a dip in agricultural productivity is worrying as it could turn India into a major importer of milk and pulses. By 2030, it may need 65 million tonnes more of foodgrains than the expected production in 2016-17. The recent economic survey says that “estimates indicate that currently , India incurs losses of about US$ 9-10 billion annually due to extreme weather events. Of these, nearly 80% losses remain uninsured“. It pointed out that the 2014 floods in Kashmir cost more than $15 billion and Cyclone Hudhud the same year cost $11billion.

Extreme weather events are not always linked to climate change but research shows that their frequency and severity is increasing and this is being increasingly read as being a fallout of climate change.

The ministry , in its submission, noted that though most crops will see reduced production in a `business as usual' scenario, climate change may help improve yields of soya bean, chickpea, groundnut, coconut (in western coast) and potato (in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh). Potato production will, however, decline in rest of India.

2018: 2,081 deaths; $37,000 m loss

Manka Behl, Dec 5, 2019 Times of India

India has accounted for the highest fatalities in the world due to catastrophic climate events which killed 2,081 people in the country last year. It also witnessed the secondhighest economic losses of over $37,000 million, which is equivalent to nearly four times the country’s annual budget for the health sector.

The Global Climate Risk Index 2020, released by the environmental think-tank Germanwatch on Wednesday during the ongoing COP25 meet, ranks India as the fifthmost vulnerable country in the world in terms of experiencing extreme weather events. It said while in 2018 industrialised countries like Japan and Germany were hit hardest by heatwaves and drought, the Philippines was hit by the most powerful typhoon recorded worldwide.

The report said India reportedly bore absolute losses over Rs 2 lakh crores in 2018 due to climate change.



Vishwa Mohan, January 26, 2021: The Times of India

Extreme weather events in 2019, shows a global Climate Risk Index (CRI)
From: Vishwa Mohan, January 26, 2021: The Times of India

India was the seventh worst-hit country due to extreme weather events in 2019, shows a global Climate Risk Index (CRI) released on Monday ranking countries according to their vulnerability both in terms of fatalities and economic losses.

India, however, improved its ranking from fifth in 2020. Though India topped the dubious list in terms of having highest number of fatalities (2,267) and the biggest economic losses ($68,812 million) in 2019, its overall CRI ranking was seventh due to low fatalities per one lakh of inhabitants and losses per unit of GDP due to climate change-induced extreme weather events such as storms, floods, heat waves and cyclones.

The report, by Germanybased think tank Germanwatch, shows over 475,000 people had lost lives as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events and lost around $2.56 trillion (in purchasing power parities) in past 20 years between 2000 and 2019.


1901-2010, 2021: average temperatures increase

40°C in March? How hot will May and June be?


Apr 20, 2021

April 20, 2021: The Times of India

Average temperatures in India, decade-wise, 1901-1910- 1981-90
From: April 20, 2021: The Times of India

See graphic:

Average temperatures in India, decade-wise, 1901-1910- 1981-90


Vishwa Mohan, January 15, 2022: The Times of India

1901-21: the warmest years ever in India
Extreme weather events in India in 2021
From: Vishwa Mohan, January 15, 2022: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The year 2021 was the fifth warmest year in India since nation-wide records commenced in the country in 1901, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its 'Climate of India during 2021' report. The annual compilation also shows that the country had reported loss of 1,750 lives due to extreme weather events last year with Maharashtra being the most adversely affected state reporting 350 deaths.

Among extreme weather events, lightning & thunderstorms took the highest 787 lives followed by heavy rains, floods and landslides that caused deaths of 759 people. Cyclones caused 172 deaths in different states in 2021.

On warming phenomena, the report shows that 11 out of 15 warmest years in the country were during the recent fifteen years (2007-2021) with highest warming being observed during 2016 when it was 0.71 degree Celsius above the long period average (LPA) based on 1981-2010 period.

The annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over India during 2021 was 0.44 degree C above the LPA. "The winter (January to February) and post-monsoon (October to December) seasons with all India mean temperature anomalies (actual-LPA temperature) of +0.78 degree C and +0.42 degree C respectively mainly contributed to this warming," said the Met department in its report explaining how the relatively less colder winter last year primarily contributed to the overall high mean temperature in the year.

However, the all-India mean temperatures during the other two seasons such as pre-monsoon (March to May) and monsoon (June to September) were also "above normal" with anomalies of +0.35 degree C and +0.34 degree C, respectively.

"The country averaged annual mean temperature during 1901-2021 showed an increasing trend of 0.63 degree C per 100 years with a significant increasing trend in maximum temperature (0.99 degree C/100 years) and a relatively lower increasing trend (0.26 degree C/100 years) in minimum temperature," said the IMD.

India's mean surface temperature appears to be in sync with the rise in the global mean surface temperature. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in its provisional statement on Global Climate 2021 (January to September period) observed that the global mean surface temperature was about 1.08 ±0.13 degree C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average and the annual temperature is also likely to be between the "5 th and 7th warmest year" on record.

As far as rainfall is concerned, the 2021 annual rainfall over the country as a whole was 105% of its LPA based on the 1961-2010 period. The southwest monsoon season rainfall over the country as a whole was 'normal' at 99% of its LPA whereas the northeast/ post monsoon season (October-December) rainfall over the country as a whole was 'above normal' at 144% of LPA.

The IMD in its annual report also compiled the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) which is used for monitoring drought conditions based on precipitation. This index is negative for dry, and positive for wet conditions. As the dry or wet conditions become more severe, the index becomes more negative or positive.

The cumulative SPI values of the past twelve months of 2021 indicate "extremely wet - severely wet conditions" over parts of A & N Islands, Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, East Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Punjab, East Rajasthan, West Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat Region, Konkan & Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Andhra Pradesh state, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, North Interior Karnataka, South Interior Karnataka and Kerala.

On the other hand, "extremely dry - severely dry" conditions were observed over parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura, Sub Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim, East Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Warmest years recorded in India, .1901 – 2023

Vishwa Mohan, January 2, 2024: The Times of India

The five warmest years recorded in India, .1901 – 2023
From: Vishwa Mohan, January 2, 2024: The Times of India

2023 was 2nd warmest on record in the country since 1901, says IMD

‘2,376 Casualties Due To Extreme Weather Events Last Year’

New Delhi : The year 2023 was the second warmest on record in the country since 1901 and the year witnessed 2,376 human casualties due to extreme weather events with lightning and thunderstorm alone contributing to over 50% of the total deaths, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“The annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over India during 2023 was 0.65 degree Celsius above the long term average (1981-2010 period), making it the second warmest year on record since 1901. The highest warming was observed in 2016 when the anomaly was 0.71 degree Celsius,” said the India Meteorological Department chief, M Mohapatra, while releasing the yearly review of different weather events. 
Globally, the year 2023 was, however, the “warmest year on record” with reporting the global mean temperature around 1.40 (± 0.12) degree Celsius above the pre-industrial level (1850 – 1900 average) till October. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) will release the final figure later, taking into account the global average temperatures of November and December.

Such a high temperature anomaly globally as well as in India could be attributed to El Niño conditions (warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that impacts monsoon negatively). The WMO has already flagged that the warming El Niño event of this year is likely to “further fuel the heat in 2024”.

As far as casualties due to extreme weather events in India are concerned, thunderstorms and lightning, put together, were the biggest killer in the country last year (1,276 deaths) followed by floods and heavy rains (862) and heat waves (166). The country reported more such casualties last year compared to 2022 when 2,227 people were killed in extreme weather-related events.

Mohapatra, however, said India Meteorological Department’s figures on human casualties could just be indicative at this juncture and final data could be derived from other agencies’ records later.

Preliminary data shows that Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of casualties followed by the states of Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Mar, Apr 2021 were unusually hot

Rising temperatures during summer months will have serious repercussions on the economy

  • Baripada town near Odisha's Similipal Tiger Reserve recorded 44.6°Celsius on March 31, 2021
  • Chennai set an all-time record of 41.3°Celsius for March on the 30th of the month this year, erasing the earlier record of 40.6°Celsius way back on March 29, 1953
  • Delhi cracked a blazing 40.1°Celsius on March 29, 2021, making it the hottest March since 1945
  • Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu also joined the club of soaring 40s in the last days of March
  • March 2021 was the third warmest month in 121 years in terms of monthly average maximum temperature, according to the India Meteorological Department

And if March was hot, April is no better with Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh already in the race to be among the hottest states. Delhi, meanwhile, has already had its first hat-trick of 40°Celsius temperatures this season – 40.2°Celsius on April 13, 40.2°Celsius on April 14 and 40.5°Celsius on April

According to the World Bank, during the 1901-2016 period, the months of May-June in India have consistently been 25-30% hotter than March.

On the boil

According to the Met department, large swathes of India, except for the Indo-Gangetic plains, have seen significant rise in temperature over the past six decades. In fact, IMD found 25% more occurrences of hot days from 1976-2018 as compared to 1951-1975.

In India, May & June are on average 25% hotter than March

A report by McKinsey Global Institute – “Will India get too hot to work”, published in November 2020 –has stated that according to 2017 figures, heat-exposed work contributes nearly half of the GDP, driving about 30% of GDP growth.

The reports goes on to say that heat-exposed work employs about 75% of the labour force or a staggering 380 million people.

Heat waves

2011 -2018

Heat waves killed about 6,187 people in India between 2011 and 2018. Of that, government records show, 34% of the deaths were in 2015, the year that saw one of the world's deadliest heat waves on record.

“In the last couple of decades the cooling effect of La Nina has started diminishing producing one after another hottest summer in the subcontinent. This year 2021 in particular, the temperature in February recorded more than 30°Celsius,” said Samrat Sengupta, programme director, climate change and renewable energy at Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment.

Nights getting warmer in India

Yields Of Rice, Other Cereals Could Be Hit

Amit Bhattacharya | TNN 2010

New Delhi: In an ominous sign of climate change hitting home, India has seen accelerated warming in the past few decades and the temperature-rise pattern is now increasingly in line with global warming trends. The most up-to-date study of temperatures in India, from 1901 to 2007, has found that while it’s getting warmer across regions and seasons, night temperatures have been rising significantly in almost all parts of the country.

The rise in night temperatures — 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade since 1970, according to the study — could have potentially adverse impact on yields of cereal crops like rice. The paper also finds that warming has been highest in post-monsoon and winter months (October to February).

‘‘Until the late 1980s, minimum (or night) temperatures were trendless in India. India was an odd dot in the global map as most regions worldwide were seeing a rise in night temperatures in sync with growing levels of greenhouse gases. Our analysis shows the global trend has caught up with India,’’ said K Krishna Kumar, senior scientist and programme manager at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, and one of the authors.

Regional factors seem to be getting over-ridden by warming caused by greenhouse gases. For instance, the cooling trend in much of north India seen in the 1950s and 60s has been reversed, possibly because the effect of aerosols in the air can no longer compensate for greenhouse gas warming.

Heat Is On

In last 100 yrs, mean temp has risen .82°C worldwide, and .51°C in India

However, India has seen sharp temp rise in recent decades. Since 1970, minimum temp up by .20°C/decade, faster than max temp (.17°C)

Western Himalayas warming up alarmingly at .46°C per decade

Across India, warming is sharpest during winter (.30°C per decade) and post-monsoon (.20°C) months Himalayan regions bear warming brunt

New Delhi: A study on temperatures has found evidence of accelerated warming in India. The study — Surface air temperature variability over India during 1901-2007 and its association with ENSO — by IITM scientists D R Kothawale and A A Munot besides Kumar, is a comprehensive analysis of temperature data gathered from 388 weather stations in the country and has been accepted for publication in the international Climate Research journal.

The rising night temperatures are a major cause of worry. Said Jagdish K Ladha, principal scientist in the India chapter of International Rice Research Institute, ‘‘Minimum temperatures have a link with rice fertility. At higher than normal night temperatures, rice grains aren’t properly filled up, leading to a drop in yield.’’

During 1901 to 2007, the all-India mean, maximum and minimum annual temperatures rose at the rate of 0.51, 0.71 and 0.27 degrees Celsius per 100 years, respectively.

However, post 1970, the rise has been sharper with mean and minimum temperatures both increasing at the rate of 0.2 degrees per decade, faster than the maximum temperature which rose by 0.17 degrees.

Among regions, the hardest hit seems to be the western Himalayas encompassing portions of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Here the mean temperature rise in the last century was 0.86 degrees while, more recently, temperatures have been going up by as much as 0.46 degrees per decade. The rapid warming of the region would have obvious fallouts on glacier melts.

On a seasonal scale, winter and post-monsoon temperatures show significant warming trends in recent decades though temperatures in other months have also been going up more modestly.

Rise in annual mean temperature: 1971-2013

Neha Madaan, Delhi temp rose faster than most cities' in last 40 years, Oct 04 2016 : The Times of India

9 Others Too Saw Similar Rise: Study

Delhi is among 10 major cities in the country , which includes all big metros, where the annual mean temperature has risen significantly higher than other cities over the last four decades.

A recent study by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland, lists Delhi along with Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Nagpur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune as cities with significant temperature rise from 1971-2013. The highest rise in mean temperature was in Jaipur (0.38°C), followed by Bengaluru (0.23°C) and Nagpur (0.21°C). Delhi is among four cities in the list which showed a decrease in mean annual temperatures from 1901 to 1970, before the trend got reversed.

This indicates increasing urbanisation has played a role in rising temperatures, said IITM's D R Kothawale, who headed the research. The other cities showing a similar trend are Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

The study showed that even hill stations such as Srinagar, Shimla, Darjeeling and Kodaikanal had recorded a rise in temper atures over the last 40 years till 2013. The maximum and minimum temperatures in these hill stations had gone up by 0.4°C and 0.22°C per decade.

The researchers used seasonal and annual mean, maximum and minimum temperature data of 36 weather stations right from 1901.

Kothawale also said that the annual mean temperature of all the coastal stations showed a significant increasing trend.

Nine major cities -Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Surat, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Bengaluru and Chennai -showed significant increasing trends in minimum temperature after 1971, whereas the maximum temperature during this period showed a significant increasing trend in six major cities -Jaipur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai.

1993> 2006>2018: Delhi’s warmest winters

Amit Bhattacharya, This was city’s warmest winter in 12 yrs, March 2, 2018: The Times of India

Highest average maximum temperatures in February, in Delhi, 1993-2018
From: Amit Bhattacharya, This was city’s warmest winter in 12 yrs, March 2, 2018: The Times of India

Maximum Temperature In Feb 2.7°C Above Normal; It Was 1°C Higher Even In December

In 2017-18, Delhi winter was the warmest in 12 years in terms of day temperatures. Just like in January, the maximum temperatures in the month of February too were the highest since 2006, Met records reveal.

The December-February period is generally considered the winter season in the capital. In 2017-18, while day temperatures in January and February were at a 12-year high, the average maximum temperature in December was 1 degree Celsius higher than normal.

Taking the three months together, the city hadn’t seen such warm day conditions since 2006, which was the warmest winter on record in at least the past 25 years.

The average maximum temperature in February was 26.5 degrees C, a massive 2.7 degrees higher than normal. Day temperatures were above normal on 24 of the 28 days in the month. This was a trend that continued from January, when the average maximum was 1.7 degrees higher than normal and day temperatures maxed the normal on 23 days.

Experts said a major reason for warm days during the two months was lack of rainfall. No rain was recorded in the city in February whereas the normal for the month is 22mm.

“Both January and February this year were dry and mostly cloudless. In such conditions, the sun’s heat plays a big role in warming up the day. Also, westerly winds blew during much of February. These winds are generally warmer than the ones coming from the north,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of IMD’s Regional Weather Forecasting Centre.

Snowfall in the western Himalayas too was much below normal this year, which led to mild winter conditions throughout north India. “There was just one western disturbance that brought rain to the northern plains in February, but the wet weather bypassed the capital,” Srivastava said.

Experts said global warming too could be playing a role. “Delhi has been witnessing mild winters for the past three years while day temperatures in February have been above average since 2015,” Srivastava added.

While maximum temperatures were very high during this winter, the clear sky conditions meant that the daytime warmth quickly radiated out after dark. This meant that night temperatures weren’t as high. In February, the average minimum temperature was 11.2 degrees C, 0.8 degrees higher than normal.

On the brighter side, dry and clear conditions, along with high temperatures, meant that pollution levels in the capital in all three winter months were lowest in the past three years.

2018, July

August 2, 2018: The Times of India

July 2018 temperature records were broken around the world, including in India and Afghanistan.
From: August 2, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

July 2018 temperature records were broken around the world, including in India and Afghanistan.

Several July temperature records were broken around the world. With heatwaves resulting in deaths in Japan and uncontrollable fires in Greece, hot-weather systems have persisted for longer than usual, in addition to the effects of global warming.

Heat index

Rising @ 0.56°C/ 0.32°C in summer/ monsoon per decade

Neha Madaan, Delhi hot, Mumbai hotter as heat index keeps surging, Feb 26 2017: The Times of India

Sees Decadal Rise At Rate Of 0.56°C In Summers

The average heat index in India is increasing significantly per decade at the rate of 0.56°C and 0.32°C in summer and monsoon respectively , a recent research by India Meteorological Department and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology has found. Heat index is a measure of the stress placed on humans by increased levels of temperature and moisture. The higher the heat index, the hotter the weather one feels, since sweat does not readily evaporate and cools the skin.

Of 25 mega cities analysed, 17, including Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Ahmedabad, have long-term average summer heat index in `very hot category'.

The study found that Mumbai and Pune from west India are in the `hot category' of the index in monsoon.Most mega cities in north India, including Delhi and Amritsar, are in hot category of the heat index during the summer season and in `very hot category' in monsoon.

`Very hot' category is considered dangerous, with health effects such as heat cramps, exhaustion and heatstroke with prolonged exposure or physical activity . The `hot category' requires peo ple exposed to it to take extreme caution.

The study found that 10 mega cities show significant increasing trends in monsoon heat index, including Mumbai and New Delhi.

“Most mega cities have significant increasing trends in summer and monsoon season heat index. Mega cities are densely packed with people, buildings, industries and motor vehicles. Heat released in the atmosphere gets trapped, meaning the ambi ent temperature is often higher than the immediate surroundings,“ said former IMD official and lead researcher A K Jaswal.

He said an interesting regional phenomenon is the stilling of winds. “Wind helps sweat to evaporate and the body to cool,“ he said. The study used monthly average maximum temperature and relative humidity records to analyse heat index during summer and monsoon from 1951to 2010 (60 years).

Heat exposure, 1983-2016

Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, Oct 8, 2021: The Times of India

India contributed to more than half of the global increase in urban heat exposure since the 1980s, according to a study.

The trend, concentrated in south Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa, was caused by urban population growth as well as rising temperatures, the study said.

Globally, urban exposure to extreme heat and humidity saw a threefold increase from 40 billion ‘person-days’ in 1983 to 119 billion person-days in 2016, researchers found in their analysis of high-resolution data for 13,115 cities around the world. (‘Person-days’ refers to the number of extreme heat days a year multiplied by the exposed population.) India contributed to 52% of the increase, with four cities - New Delhi (2), Kolkata (3), Mumbai (5), and Chennai (7) - in the top 10. Dhaka topped the list.

Two-thirds of the overall increase in heat exposure was due to increased urban population while a third was due to rising temperatures. Cities are warming due to climate change as well as the ‘urban heat island’ effect — the increase in temperatures caused by concretisation and reduced green cover. Population growth was unsurprisingly the main cause of increased heat exposure in Asian cities, for instance, while warming played a bigger role in stable-population cities in western Europe. More surprisingly, such variations were also seen within India. Population growth was the main cause of the trend in New Delhi, while temperature increase was a bigger factor in Kolkata. In Mumbai, too, higher temperatures contributed to almost half of the increased heat exposure.

These spatial variations highlight the need for local-level analysis and planning for global warming, said the study led by scientists from the University of California.

The study defined extreme heat as ‘wet bulb’ temperatures of more than 30 degrees centigrade, associated with reduced productivity and increased heat-related illness. The wet bulb index combines heat with humidity, which lays a role in physiological comfort. Over 2,000 cities experienced an additional month of extreme heat in 2016 compared to 1983, the study said.

“Increased extreme heat is potentially elevating mortality rates for many of the planet’s urban settlements, especially among those most socially and economically marginalized,” said authors. Even some traditionally drier cities in India are seeing increases in humidity, said Lubaina Rangwalla, associate director of urban resilience and planning at the World Resource Institute in India, which is not connected to the study. “As humidity increases, the body’s ability to cool down on its own reduces,” she said.

“Governments aren’t understanding public health implications of climatic changes.”

Heat exposure in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the world: 1983-2016

Glaciers, Himalayan

Shrinkage, 1962-2010


Himalayan glaciers shrank 16% in 50 yrs: Isro

Bangalore: Himalayan glaciers retreated by 16% in the last nearly five decades due to climate change, investigations by India’s scientists in selected basins in four states has revealed. The retreat of Himalayan glaciers and loss in a real extent were monitored in selected basins in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Sikkim, under a programme on space-based global climate change observation by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

“Investigations on glacial retreat were estimated for 1,317 glaciers in 10 sub-basins from 1962. This has shown an overall reduction in glacial area from 5,866 sqkm to 4,921 sqkm since 1962, showing an overall de-glaciation of 16%”, says the latest annual report of Isro. Snow cover monitoring of all basin has been completed, it said.

Atlases for three years are ready and one for the fourth year is being prepared. Modeling response of Himalayan cryosphere to climate change has been initiated, Isro added. Meanwhile, a study on the impact of temperature and carbon dioxide (CO ² ) rise on the productivity of the four major cereal food crops — wheat, rice, maize and pearl millet — revealed that yield of all of them showed reduction with increasing temperature.

Assessment after taking field data showed that wheat was the most sensitive crop and maize the least sensitive to temperature rise among the four, Isro pointed out. Another study for climate change impact on hydrology was carried out using “Curve Number” approach to study the change in run off pattern in India at basin level. “Analysis shows there will be significant increase of run off in the month of June in most of the major river basins”, the 2009-10 report of the Isro said. Isro has also observed a strong correlation between agriculture vegetation (mainly rice areas) and methane concentration.

Rate of retreat of Gangotri slows

Sharma Seema, `Gangotri glacier's receding rate is slowing, but base is thinning', Feb 24, 2017: The Times of India

The rate of retreat of Gangotri glacier has slowed down to 11 metres since 2008 from the maximum of 35 metres recorded in 1974, according to experts at the Almora-based GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development (GBPNIHESD) who conducted a study of the glacier located in Uttarkashi from 2008 till 2016. While this is good news, scientists said that the worrying part is that the base of the 30-km long glacier is thinning and has become more fragile.

Kireet Kumar, scientist at GBPNIHESD, who was involved in the study , told TOI, “We are not much concerned about the receding of the glacier since it is not so drastic. Our concern is more about the mass loss. Due to thin ning of its shape, Gangotri glacier has become vulnerable to fragmentation which would ultimately lead to breakage and loss of water.“

240m in Himalayan regions to be affected by changes

VISHWA MOHAN, Sep 26, 2019: The Times of India

How warming oceans, melting ice may impact us
From: VISHWA MOHAN, Sep 26, 2019: The Times of India

Sounding alarm for urgent action to slow down the pace of global warming, an IPCC report released in Monaco on Wednesday said increasing warming of the oceans and accelerated sea level rise would lead to widespread death of marine life, leading to a seafood crisis and increasingly destructive cyclones.

Marine heatwaves have likely doubled in frequency between 1982 and 2016, the report said, warning that the pace of change was accelerating. The IPCC report warns that sea levels are rising faster than previously thought due to accelerating rates of ice melt. It said that sea levels would rise globally by around 30-60cm by the end of this century even if emissions of GHG are sharply reduced and global warming is limited to well below 2 degree Celsius.

IPCC report co-author Anjal Prakash noted that around 240 million people of the entire Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) regions would be affected due to changes in the cryosphere as it may affect the “world’s largest renewable supplies of fresh water.”

Night temperatures


Parth Shastri, January 2, 2024: The Times of India

Change in night-time temperatures; Night-time surface thermal anomaly showing Suhi effect
From: Parth Shastri, January 2, 2024: The Times of India

Delhi leads top south Asian cities in night temp rise with a 2°C spike in last 23 years

Ahmedabad : Surat and Ahmedabad have recorded a rise of 1.94 degree and 1.9 degree Celsius in night temperatures, respectively, from 2000 to 2023, according to a study that attributes the warmer winters in the two Gujarat cities and elsewhere in the country partly to a surface urban heat island (SUHI) effect.

Under this phenomenon, cities become warmer than their peripheries. The night temperature increases in Surat and Ahmedabad were the second and third highest after Delhi, which recorded a rise of 2 degrees among 20 cities in the study by a team from IIT-Dhanbad.

Little wonder then that this New Year’s Day, Ahmedabad recorded a minimum temperature of 16.2 degrees Celsius, 3.9 degrees above normal. In fact, the first two months of winter in the city --and Gujarat at large -have not seen any cold wave. The lowest minimum temperature for December 2023 was 13.3 degrees in Ahmedabad compared to 9.2 degrees in December 2022.

That is not all -the trapped heat in the urban environment has also given rise to the SUHI effect. On that count, Ahmedabad had the second highest value of 1.7 degrees (difference between core and periphery minimum temperatures) after 2.2 degrees in Jaipur.

The study -titled “Spatial Characteristics and Temporal Trend of Urban Heat Island Effect over Major Cities in India Using Long-Term Space-Based MODIS Land Surface Temperature Observations (2000–2023) --was published recently in the journal Applied Sciences.Its authors included Suren Nayak, Arya Vinod, and Anup Krishna Prasad from IIT Dhanbad and Utkal University.
The study took into account data from MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on Terra and Aqua satellites of NASA from 2000 to 2023 for 20 South Asian cities from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

“Major cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat, which have been rapidly expanding over the last two decades, show much higher temperatures compared to the surrounding non-urban areas. For instance, in February and March, Ahmedabad shows the highest SUHI (2.81°C and 3.09°C) compared to other cities,” Prasad, associate professor at IIT Dhanbad and one of the study’s authors, told TOI.

According to Prasad, the total change in night surface temperature from May to July in Ahmedabad is highest at 3.7°C among the top 20 populated cities in India and its neighbours. “Delhi was the second highest at 3.01°C,” he said.
The researchers added that even as Ahmedabad is relatively close to the coast, the highest SUHI during February and March compared to landlocked cities like Delhi is alarming. They added that another factor is rise in temperatures and SUHI even in Tier 2 and 3 cities of India with rapid expansion. Ahmedabad was the first city in South Asia to introduce a Heat Action Plan (HAP).

Public health experts caution that the rise in temperatures has a range of implications, ranging from heat fatigue to reduction in productivi ty. “We do not have substantial data in heat stroke and heat-related ailments but with the overall rise in temperatures -2023 was one of the hottest years on record -implications of rising heat would add to the health burden,” said an expert.
Another aspect of the rise in temperatures is increased energy bills (fan, air-conditioning and coolers), especially during warmer months from March to June in cities like Ahmedabad. Experts suggested mitigating measures such as improved urban planning, better building materials and passive cooling techniques.

The results of Climate change

Farmer suicides, Naxal violence are a result

The Times of India, Dec 02 2015

Christian Parenti

Farmer suicides, Naxal violence linked to climate change

 What if any connection is there be tween Naxalite violence and cli mate change? In 2009, I did re search in India to understand this question. At least one clear and disturbing pattern emerged: compare maps of precipitation with those of violence, and where drought advances, so do Maoists. This geography of linked ecological and socio military crisis runs down the Eastern Ghats, from Bihar and West Bengal, through Orissa and Chhattisgarh, into Andhra Pradesh and even further south and west.

This so-called “Red Cor ridor“ is also the drought cor ridor. During the years of the Naxal rise in Andhra Pradesh, drought was also intense: 1984­1985, 1986­1987, 1997­1998, 1999­2000, and 2002­2003 were all drought years.

But the Maoist fire burns not only due to drought; free-market government policies also fuel it.

In Telangana Jal, jungle, zameen, or “water, forest, land“ has been a rallying cry for local social organizations going back to the 1930s. It is a defense of the small farmer's place within the landscape, a defense of nature and the commons against all who would encroach.

In recent years it has also become a Naxalite battle cry. And now, as the extreme weather of anthropogenic climate change kicks in, jal, jungle, zameen takes on the qualities of a prophetic warning: we all depend on nature and we destroy it at our own peril.

There is a very strong scientific consensus on this: emissions from burning fossil fuels, primarily carbon dioxide, are trapping heat in earth's atmosphere and oceans that would otherwise radiate back out to space. This heating is disrupting the planet's climate system.

Worse yet, even if we drastically reduce emissions over the next several decades and thus manage to avert rapidly escalating self-compounding, so-called runaway climate change, civilization is still locked-in for major disruptions. Expansion of deserts, weakened monsoons, and a three-foot sea level rise, are, according to the scientists, pretty much guaranteed. In other words, even the best-case scenario is very bad.

Already climate change is happening faster than initially predicted, its incipient impacts are upon us all over the globe. India will not be spared in these upheavals. Climate scientists predict cataclysmic physical changes for the subcontinent in the near future.

Two-thirds of Indians are farmers. Most of them depend on Himalayan glacial runoff or the monsoon rains. Now both water sources are in danger due to global warming. The Himalayan ice pack is melting rapidly , while monsoon variability is increasing.

The summer monsoons account for fourfifths of India's total rainfall; the lighter, retreating or northwest monsoons deliver the rest. But things are less stable than in the past. Farmers in Telangana told me that recent years have seen only light winter rains. In many places that makes it impossible to plant a second crop. As the Pacific Ocean warms, the monsoon weakens further.

The US intelligence community is aware of all this and worried about it. “For India, our research indicates the practical effects of climate change will be manageable by New Delhi through 2030. Beyond 2030,“ said then US National Intelligence Director, Adm. Dennis C Blair during 2010 testimony to the US Congress, “India's ability to cope will be reduced by declining agricultural productivity , decreasing water supplies, and increasing pressures from cross border migration into the country .“

Most farmers in Telangana live by the mercy of the monsoons. Their agriculture has traditionally been dependent on water impoundment and storage.Canals feed out from the storage tanks, and elaborate social rules govern how and when water is allocated.

But water infrastructure requires public investment, and social solidarity , two things that are undermined by the individualism and money-first logic of free-market economic reform.

Starting in 1991 when the Indian government launched its first wave of economic liberalization, the state cut power subsidies to farmers. With that, running pumps for wells and irrigation became more expensive. To cope, farmers started taking loans, but for lack of a good local credit infrastructure they frequently turned to moneylenders.

At the same time­ in a pattern predicted by climate scientists ­ drought became more frequent. To cope farmers had to spend more money to drill additional and deeper wells.

According to a World Bank study on drought and climate change in Andhra Pradesh: “Credit remains the most common coping response to drought.“ In fact, 68% of households in the study took loans due to drought. Large landholders borrow, “from formal sources (such as banks),“ explained the report, “while the landless and small farmers borrow from moneylenders at inflated interest rates.“

As the pattern of drought intensified so too did the burden of debt on the common farmer. Call it a downward drought-debt cycle. Another cause of debt is the costs of inputs, like seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers. The most demanding crop in this regard is cotton, particularly Monsanto's genetically modified Bt cotton.

According to the farmers, Bt cotton initially boosts yields and incomes, but after a few years, the soil is stripped of its nutrients and requires expensive fertilizers and pesticides. As the costs rise so too do the debts and Bt cotton becomes a curse.

Bizarrely , as the drought-debt cycle intensifies, cotton cultivation spreads and as it does the price falls. This combination of factors seemed totally nonsensical until a brilliant economic historian, Vamsi Vakulabharanam now a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, solved the puzzle.

The answer lies in the moneylenders. They demand cotton crops as collateral for their loans because cotton is inedible. Thus, during times of crisis an indebted farmer cannot “steal“ ­ that is eat ­ the collateral. Even when food crops, like grains, command higher prices, the moneylenders will not advance credit for such crops because those crops carry greater risks. Cotton is the moneylenders' biological insurance.

Thus, many Telangana farmers are trapped in a downward economic cycle: they need credit to get the expensive inputs needed to produce cotton, but the more cotton they produce the lower its price, the lower the price of cotton the more they must plant borrowing to do so, and falling ever deeper into debt.

The shift to cotton has coincided with the government's move towards neoliberalism and away from the various legal protections and government subsidies for poor farmers like public credit and public investment in irrigation.

If government-subsidized credit schemes were available, many of these Telangana farmers would not rely on moneylenders and thus would not over-plant cotton.

All these factors -government abandonment of the poor, predatory private credit markets, and due to climate change an increasingly hostile environment -combine to fuel desperation.

Suicide, for many , is the only escape. Often the preferred method, as if victims were attempting to illustrate some larger political point, is swallowing pesticides. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 150,000 Indian farmers killed themselves between 1997 and 2005. In Andhra Pradesh, an esti mated 2,000 to 3,000 farmers killed themselves between 1998 and 2004.

The same desperation that drives suicide also drives political homicide; which is to say, Naxalite violence.

For years, the police special forces, have conducted search-and-destroy operations in the forest belt of northern Telangana.

Such counter-insurgency strategies create high profile human rights abuses. But they also damage the social fabric by sowing suspicion and alienation. This hidden social damage promises future problems because adaptation to climate change will require deeper solidarity and more cooperation, not less.

Naxalite violence is not the only flashpoint on the spectrum of existing and possible climate violence. Climate change will force millions of people to relocate. Currently there are an estimated 60 million refugees worldwide and already we feel the strain, just look at Europe. However, a major study from Columbia University projects that by 2050 fully 700 million climate refugees will be on the move.

Increasingly , the response to migration is border militarization. Be it in the United States, or Europe, or on India's frontier with Bangladesh, the pattern is the same: barbed wire, armed guards, aerial surveillance. These responses to mass migration play well with panicked electorates but they do not offer long-term solutions.

Avoiding a nightmare version of the future requires mitigation, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. But it also requires humane and just forms of adaptation.

How should India prepare for massive internal and international dislocation and migration? By charting a path toward a clean energy future and just climate adaptation based on economic redistribution, social justice, and sustainable development.This alternative path forward is often dismissed as utopian but it is actually far more realistic and sustainable than the alternative, which is a future of endless counter-insurgency , ever more militarized borders, and a steady erosion of democracy .

Fruiting, flowering early

Prashant Jha, February 5, 2021: The Times of India

Highlighting the effects of climate change on the phenological cycle of plants in the upper Himalayan region, a survey conducted by the Uttarakhand forest department’s Pithoragarh forest research range has found that flowering and fruiting in four of the most common plants around Munsyari has been happening at least three to four months before the normal season.

The field survey, a brief report of which is available with TOI, studied four common plants — rhododendron, kafal, Himalayan raspberry (hisalu) and Himalayan cherry (bhenkal) — and found that while the fruiting and flowering in these species happens in late spring or even summers, it was taking place in late January instead.

According to the report, while flowering in rhododendron takes place in March-May, they were already blooming at the time of survey. Similarly, kafal which witnesses fruiting in late April to June witnessed the same phenomenon in January.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, chief conservator of forests (research), said that these findings clearly point out warming of the upper Himalayan region due to climate change. “Our surveys had been observing changes in the phenological cycles of these plants over the years. However, this time it is more visible and prominent,” Chaturvedi said.

Sea levels, change

Sea levels rising faster, Indian cities at high flood risk: IPCC

VISHWA.MOHAN, Sep 26, 2019: The Times of India

Four Indian coastal cities — Kolkata, Mumbai, Surat and Chennai — will be severely threatened due to sea level rise while several others in north India will be exposed to acute water crisis due to melting of Himalayan glaciers by the end of the century, a UN body on climate change hinted.

Sea levels, rising faster than ever before, are on course to rise one metre higher due to melting of ice in the business-as-usual scenario by 2100, severely affecting over 1.4 billion people globally, a special report on “oceans and cryosphere” released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned.

Four Indian cities are among 45 such coastal port cities globally where even an increase of sea level by 50cm will lead to flooding. In fact, the extreme sea level events that used to happen once a century in the past will occur every year by mid-century in many regions, increasing risks for many low-lying coastal cities and small islands.

Vulnerability to Climate change

2016/ India sixth most vulnerable country

Vishwa Mohan, November 10, 2019: The Times of India

India sixth most vulnerable country facing extreme weather events: Report

BONN: India is the sixth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of facing extreme weather events with Haiti, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Vietnam taking top five positions in the fresh list of nations facing climate risk. The ranking was released here by the Germanwatch, an independent Berlin-based development and environmental organisation, on Thursday in its latest global climate risk index (CRI). The Index put the United States (US) at 10th position with Chinese Taipei, Macedonia and Bolivia being the other three vulnerable countries in the list of top ten.

The Germanwatch comes out with the CRI by analysing number of deaths per 1,00,000 inhabitants, extent of financial losses and loss per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries.

India was at number four in terms of CRI ranking last year. Economic and population data from International Monetary Fund (IMF) was taken into account while arriving at the ranking. The CRI indicates a level of exposure and vulnerability to extreme events.

In the present analysis, only weather related events - storms, floods and temperature extremes (heat and cold waves) - are incorporated. "Geological incidents like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis, for which data is also available, are not relevant in this context as they do not depend on the weather and therefore are not possibly related to climate change", the report said.

The report noted that India had in 2016 lost the maximum number of human lives (2119) and over $21 billion worth of properties. The US had suffered the maximum financial loss (over $47 billion) last year. Analysing the relevant data of past 20 years (1997-2016), the CRI report found that the world had lost lives of 5,24,000 people and suffered financial losses to the tune of $3.16 trillion as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events during the period.

As far as long-term (1997-2016) CRI of countries are concerned, India is not in the list of the top 10 vulnerable nations which include Honduras, Haiti, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand and Dominican Republic (in that order) in the list. India figured at 12th position in that list.

"The CRI does not provide an all-encompassing analysis of the risk of anthropogenic climate change, but should be seen as just one analysis explaining countries' exposure and vulnerability to climate-related risk based on the most reliable quantified data. It is based on the current and past climate variability and also on climate change", the report said.

In the context of climate risk, the report also specifically mentioned the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report of 2016, which warned the nations that the increasing impacts and resultant increase in global adaptation costs by 2030 or 2050 are likely to be much higher than what is expected now.

Referring to the CRI, the report advised that the high ranking countries are the most impacted and therefore they should consider the index as a "warning sign" that they are at risk of either frequent extreme weather events or rare, but extraordinary catastrophes.

2017: Assam most vulnerable among 12 Himalayan region states

December 24, 2018: The Times of India

‘Assam most vulnerable to climate change in Indian Himalayas’ GUWAHATI: Among the 12 states in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), Assam is the most vulnerable to the changing climate, a Department of Science and Technology (DST) vulnerability assessment has found.

The study titled “Climate Vulnerability Assessment for the Indian Himalayan Region Using a Common Framework” was done by the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati and the Indian Institute of Technology-Mandi in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, to help understand climate change vulnerabilities which could inform development of adaptation strategies and ecosystem management for the Himalayan region. The study was part of the Swiss-funded Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP). The assessment is significant for India as a majority of its population is dependent on agriculture which requires water. The Himalayas are a source of many rivers which supply this water.

Bordering eight countries, the Himalayan mountain range is the tallest in the world. It covers an area of about 4.3 million square kilometres and nearly 1.5 billion people depend on it for water, food and energy. In India, the IHR spans across 12 states — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and (hill districts of) West Bengal.

The vulnerability assessment was done on the basis of four major factors: socio-economic, demographic status and health, the sensitivity of agricultural production, forest-dependent livelihoods and access to information services and infrastructure.

The assessment stated that the “vulnerability index is found to be the highest for Assam and Mizoram, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya and West Bengal, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand”. Sikkim was found to be the least vulnerable among all these states.

The report, however, emphasised that “vulnerability is a relative measure, which means that this assessment does not portray Sikkim, Uttarakhand or Arunachal Pradesh as having a low vulnerability in an absolute sense”.

The study explained that states with a low per capita income, low area under irrigation, low area under forests per 1,000 households and high area under open forests have received a high vulnerability score.

2019 study: Indian economy most vulnerable

India and the world: Vulnerability to Climate change, a 2019 study
From: July 9, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic, 'India and the world: Vulnerability to Climate change, a 2019 study'

The vulnerability of the coastal areas

Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, Oct 31, 2019: The Times of India

The vulnerability of the coastal areas to Climate change
From: Oct 31, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

The vulnerability of the coastal areas to Climate change

An alarming 36 million Indians may be at risk from flooding and inundation due to sea level rise by 2050, according to a new study published this week.

That projection is a sevenfold rise from a previous estimate of 5 million for the country, and the impact is likely to be concentrated in Mumbai, Kolkata, Odisha, coastal Gujarat, as well as Chennai and Kochi, the study shows.

According to the study, 300 million people globally live on land that will flood at least once a year by 2050 due to sea level rise — three times more than previous projections. Roughly 75% of those affected live in six countries: China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

Another 200 million live on land that may be completely submerged by 2100, said the study by scientists at Climate Central, a US-based institute.

The vulnerability of Asian coastal cities to global warming has been highlighted before, including in the most recent IPCC report, which warned of a one-metre rise in sea level by 2100. But the new study provides an interactive map that allows one to see the potential impact under different scenarios.

“Now that we better understand the height of the ground beneath our feet, we can see that coastal communities in India and around the world are far more vulnerable to rising seas than we could have known,” said Scott Kulp, senior computational scientist at Climate Central and lead author of the study.

2021/ state, district-wise assessment

Vishwa Mohan , April 18, 2021: The Times of India

Climate vulnerability ranking, 2021
From: Vishwa Mohan, April 18, 2021: The Times of India

The eastern part of the country, including Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, is ‘highly vulnerable’ to climate change, said a firstof-its-kind national level state and district-wise climate vulnerability assessment report, released by the science & technology ministry. It showed Maharashtra as the least vulnerable state.

It noted that Assam, Bihar, and Jharkhand have, in fact, over 60% districts in the category of ‘highly vulnerable’ districts with Karimganj in Assam being the most vulnerable.

The report titled ‘Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework’ noted that all districts or states are vulnerable, but some are relatively more vulnerable than others, requiring prioritised adaptation interventions to face the impact of climate change such as extreme weather events, stress on water resources, soil degradation and desertification.

“We have seen how extreme events are on the rise both in terms of their number and severity. Mapping the parts of India that are vulnerable to such changes will help initiate climate actions at the ground level,” said Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, department of science and technology (DST).

Besides Maharashtra, the states which figured in the ‘low vulnerability’ category include Goa, Nagaland, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangana and Himachal Pradesh. On the other hand, erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir figured in the ‘moderate vulnerability’ list along with Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

A total of 94 representatives from 24 states and two Union Territories participated in the nationwide exercise to come up with the assessment report, jointly supported by the DST and the Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC). The statelevel analysis had been carried out by the research team of IIT Mandi, IIT Guwahati and IISc Bengaluru. State and district-level vulnerability indices were prepared, factoring in socio-economic features and livelihood; biophysical aspects (yield variability of foodgrain, area under rainfed agriculture, forest area per 1,000 rural population and incidences of vector-borne and water-borne diseases); and institution and infrastructure such as area covered under centrally funded crop insurance schemes, implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), road and railnetwork and density of healthcare workers.

The socio-economic features and livelihood status looked at percentage of population living below the poverty line, income share from natural resources, share of horticulture in agriculture, proportion of marginal and small landholdings, and women’s participation in the workforce as factors to prepare the vulnerability indices and a common framework.

See also

Rainfall: India

January weather in India <> February weather in India <> March weather in India <> April weather in India <> May weather in India <> June weather in India <> Summers: India<> July weather in India <> August weather in India <> September weather in India <> Monsoons: India<> October weather in India <> November weather in India <> December weather in India <> Winter rains: India <> Winters: India

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