Extreme weather events: India

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Extreme minimum and maximum temperature; precipitation


Jasjeev Gandhiok, March 16, 2020: The Times of India

Extreme minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation ‘events’ in Delhi, 1935-2019 Extreme minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation ‘events’ in Delhi, 1935-2019
From: Jasjeev Gandhiok, March 16, 2020: The Times of India

“Extreme minimum and maximum temperature events appear to be increasing in Delhi. In December 2006, Delhi had the lowest temperature since 1935 (0.2°C). In June 2007, Delhi witnessed a maximum of 44.9°C. While these extreme temperatures cannot be directly linked to climate change, variability in weather patterns and possibility of exacerbation of extreme events due to climate change are major challenges,” stated a government document.

It added that there had been several months when temperature and precipitation were greater than standard deviation from the mean. “The hottest summer was in 1944, the coldest winter in 1935 and the wettest monsoon in 1958. However, recent years have seen similar extremes in temperature in 1978, 1988 and 1996 and precipitation in 1994, 1995, and 2003,” it added.

Extreme weather events in India during the winter of 2020-21

Extreme weather events in India during the winter of 2020-21
Graphic courtesy: [15-year high for Feb day: Extreme weather is here - The Times Of India - Delhi, 2/25/2021 (timesgroup.com) The Times of India]

15-year high for Feb day: Extreme weather is here Jasjeev Gandhiok & Priyangi Agarwal TNN

Extreme weather events are becoming more common than you would believe with the past six months not only recording a high variation in the daily maximum and minimum temperatures but within and between months too. Having recorded its warmest September in nearly two decades, the city experienced temperatures below the mean minimum in the three months that followed.

North India most polluted this winter North India was the most polluted region in the nation this winter with NCR cities recording higher levels of pollutants, finds a study. P 5

Why weather blew hot and cold this season

January saw the maximum number of ‘cold wave’ days in the past 13 years but February is turning out to be much warmer than normal.

Experts say the lack of western disturbances this winter season has played a key role in this unusual weather pattern. Western disturbances ‘regulate’ the temperature and ensure that both the maximum and minimum temperatures do not touch extremes.

According to Indian Meteorological Department, last September was the warmest in nearly two decades with a mean maximum temperature of 36.2 degrees. The last time it was higher was in September of 2001, when it was 36.3 degrees. October, however, was the opposite, recording a mean minimum temperature of just 17.2 degrees, the lowest in 58 years. November broke an even older record, with a mean minimum temperature of 10.2 degrees, last seen in 1949, while December was the second coldest in the past 15 years, shows IMD data. January continued to be chilly, recording the highest number of cold wave days in the month – seven – since 2008. February has again swung to the other extreme.

Kuldeep Srivastava, a scientist at IMD and head of Regional Weather Forecasting Centre (RWFC) in Delhi, says while the months of October, November and December see on an average around three to four western disturbances, there are usually five to six in January and February each. “The lack of western disturbance activity is the primary reason here. We’ve seen only one in January and one so far in February. These were fewer in October, November and December too,” said Srivastava, who says lack of western disturbance activity leads to clear skies, which not only causes high day-time temperatures but extremely low night-time temperatures. “Clouds trap heat during the day, which means nights are a little warmer too, but with no clouds to trap the heat, we saw night time temperatures fall to as low as 1.1 degree Celsius this winter. Similarly, direct sunlight is falling during the day,” said Srivastava.

He, however, added a note of caution, saying that a longterm trend will need to be established and analysed before we could call it an impact of climate change.

2022, January to September

Nov 2, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi : One or the other regions of India recorded extreme weather events of different types on 242 of the 273 days between January 1 and September 30 — that is more than 88% of the days over these nine months, said the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in an assessment which also showed how these disasters linked to such events have claimed 2,755 lives during this period.

The assessment noted that besides claiming human lives, the disasters due to lightning and storms, floods, heat wave, cloudbursts and cyclones among others also affected 1. 8 million hectare of crop area, destroyed over 4. 1lakh houses, and killed close to 70,000 livestock across the country in thefirst nine months of 2022.

MP, reporting an event every second day, saw the highest number of days with extreme weather events among all states, while Himachal Pradesh witnessed the highest number of human fatalities — 359 deaths. MP and Assam saw 301 human deaths each. 
Karnataka which experienced an extreme weather event on 82 days accounted for over 50% of the crop area affected in the country. MP, as per official records, didn’t report any crop area damage whereas Assam reported the highest number of damaged houses and animal deaths.

“What India has witnessed so far in 2022 is the new abnormal in a warming world,” said Sunita Narain, director general, CSE. Region-wise, central and north-western India reported the highest number of days with extreme weather events at 198 and 195, respectively. 

2023: Jan to April

Priyangi Agarwal, May 1, 2023: The Times of India

Extreme weather events in Delhi, 2023- Jan to April
From: Priyangi Agarwal, May 1, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi: This January was the coldest in 11 years, with the city witnessing an average minimum temperature of 6. 6 degrees Celsius. February was the warmest in 17 years, with the mean maximum temperature at 27. 7 degrees. March, on the other hand, was the wettest in four years and April witnessed fluctuations in temperature due to rainy days. Delhi has been reporting intense weather events this year.

Though Met officials said weather conditions caused intense patterns and this could be linked to climate change only after studying the data of the past years, some experts said the extreme weather events drew attention to climate emergencies in future.

India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) data shows that Safdarjung, the city’s base station, was the coldest in 11 years in January and saw one cold day and eight cold wave days, the highest in 15 years. The warmest February in 17 years saw no rain while the wettest March in four years logged 53. 2mm rainfall, making it relatively better than February. In April, parts of Delhi reported three heatwave days, but no such day at Safdarjung. At over 20mm rainfall, city experienced its wettest April in six years.

Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of meteorology at IMD, said, “Climate change is science and based on facts and figures. There is an impact of climate change, but the impact varies from place to place, season to season and year to year. We publish monthly and yearly reports on weather phenomena, but any phenomena occurring cannot be attributed to climate change. There should be a study or proof to connect it with climate change. ”

He added, “In the country, heavy rain frequency has increased, light rain has decreased and heatwaves have increased, but that does not mean that every year there will be an increase in such events because there will be climate variability. ”

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist and head of Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, said local weather phenomena played an important role. “For instance, April saw more western disturbances than in the past few years. Every year cannot be the same and there is a decadal variation,” he added.

However, professor A P Dimri, School of Environmental Science at JNU, said the changing weather pattern in Delhi could be linked to climate change. “Warming is happening globally to regional to local levels. The convection pattern is changing locally and extreme events like heatwaves and precipitation are rising. This is happening due to anthropogenic activities and emissions from various sources,” said Dimri. He added that researchers and policy-makers should consider changing the process of availability of energy.

Aarti Khosla, director of Climate Trends, said, “The change in temperature this year has been more than the results of different climate models. The weather is more erratic. ” She added, “Even western disturbances were impacted this year, leading to untimely rain in March. Western disturbances were impacted due to long-term change in weather patterns. The attribution of changing weather events is quite established and it could lead to climate emergencies in future. ”

The toll


Vishwa Mohan, January 7, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi : India registered 2,227 deaths due to the impact of extreme weather events in 2022, which was fifth warmest year on record in the country since 1901, according to the ‘Climate of India During 2022’ report released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). In fact, 10 months of the year, except January and February, reported “above normal” monthly mean temperatures for the country, making 2022 the fifth warmest year on record. Even globally, 2022 was possibly the fifth or sixth warmest year on record. The World Meteorological Department (WMO) will specify it in its final ‘State of the Global Climate’ report inApril.

Among different extreme weather events in India last year, thunderstorms and lightning claimed the highest 1,285 lives (58% of total such deaths), followed by floods and heavy rains (835), snowfall(37), heat waves (30) and dust storms (22). Thunderstorms and lightning alone claimed 415 lives in Bihar, 168 in Odisha, 122 in Jharkhand, 116 in Madhya Pradesh, 81 in UP, 78 in Rajasthan, 71 in Chhattisgarh, 64 in Maharashtra, 58 in Assam and remaining in other states. Overall, Bihar, Assam, UP and Maharashtra were the worst affected states with 418, 257, 201 and 194 deaths respectively.

The IMD’s report shows that India last year recorded 0. 51 degree Celsius higher average annual mean land surface air temperature compared to the long-term average (1981-2010). Though the mean temperature during last year’s winter (JanuaryFebruary) was normal, it was above normal during the rest of the seasons spread over the remaining 10 months.

Noting that pre-monsoon period was “exceptionally hot” in the country last year,IMD said, “The temperatures were consistently 3 degree C8 degree 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. ”

It noted that almost 70% of India was affected by heatwave by April 29, 2022. “Towards the end of April and in May, the heatwave extended to the coastal areas and eastern parts of India. Anomalously high temperatures during these months adversely affected grain filling and caused early senescence,” said the report.

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