India Warming: Trends | 17 Jan 2019

Recently, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated “2018” as the sixth warmest year on record, with the average temperature over India being “significantly above normal”.

  • The IMD said that 11 of the 15 warmest years were during the recent past fifteen years (2004-18). This increase in temperatures will likely lead to more extreme weather events.

India Meteorological Department (IMD)

  • IMD was established in 1875.
  • It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.
  • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.

Extreme Weather Events of 2018

  • The IMD specifically underlined two extreme weather events:
    • The Kerala floods in August were due to unusually heavy rains which are very rare over Kerala.
    • The thunderstorm activity over the northern states in May-June of 2018 was also rare due to prolonged days of activity and severity.
  • Temperatures are increasing during both day and night time.
  • Heat waves are increasing in frequency as well as magnitude.
  • Extreme rainfall and rainstorms which can cause floods are increasing.
  • Dry spell duration is also increasing.
  • Heat and cold waves, snowfall, thunderstorms, dust storms, lightning and floods are increasing.
  • India witnessed increased cyclonic storms (Titli, Luban, Gaja, Daye, Phethai) that formed over the northern Indian Ocean.
  • Flood and heavy rain related incidents reportedly claimed over 800 lives from different parts of the country (viz. northern/northeastern, central & peninsular parts) during pre-monsoon, monsoon & post-monsoon seasons in 2018.
  • Although Southwest monsoon was normal, the northeast monsoon season rainfall was substantially below normal (56% of Long Period Average (LPA)), the sixth lowest since 1901.
    • LPA is the average rainfall received by the country as a whole during the south-west monsoon, for a 50-year period.
  • The trends of recent years are part of the “global warming” trend, i.e. the rate of increase of temperatures over India is almost similar to the global average.