India getting warmer, hotter: 2021 fifth warmest year since 1901, says IMD

India is getting hotter. The latest annual report on the country’s climate by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) states that 2021 was not only the fifth warmest year since 1901, but that the last decade, 2012- 2021, was also the warmest on record. Moreover, 11 of the 15 warmest years on record were between 2007 and 2021, the met department said. The rise in average temperatures could have a cascading effect on extreme weather events, crop patterns and urban disaster management. In 2021, the annual mean land surface air temperature was 0.44 degree Celsius above the long.....
India is getting hotter. The latest annual report on the country’s climate by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) states that 2021 was not only the fifth warmest year since 1901, but that the last decade, 2012- 2021, was also the warmest on record.

Moreover, 11 of the 15 warmest years on record were between 2007 and 2021, the met department said. The rise in average temperatures could have a cascading effect on extreme weather events, crop patterns and urban disaster management.

In 2021, the annual mean land surface air temperature was 0.44 degree Celsius above the long period average (LPA). The LPA is based on temperatures between 1981 and 2010. The met department also said that the country’s averaged annual mean temperature during 1901 to 2021 showed an increasing trend, particularly in the case of maximum temperatures.

“This could be due to climate change. Globally, too, the average mean temperatures are rising while incidents of some extreme weather events are also rising,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of IMD, told Business Standard.

The five warmest years on record so far are:

2016, which was 0.71 degree Celsius over the LPA, 2009 (+0.55 degree Celsius), 2017 (+0.541 degree Celsius), 2010 (+0.539 degree Celsius), and 2021 (+0.44 degree Celsius) 

The year 2021 also saw 1750 lives being lost due to extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, floods, landslides, lightning, cyclonic storms and cold waves. Among the states that experienced such calamities, Maharashtra topped the list with 340 deaths.

“In 2021, five tropical cyclones formed over the north Indian Ocean, with three forming over the Bay of Bengal and two forming over the Arabian Sea,” the IMD’s annual report said.

“In addition, extreme weather events like very heavy rainfall, floods, landslides, lightning, thunderstorms and droughts were also experienced in various parts of the country,” the report said.

It added that in 2021 heavy rainfall and flood-related incidents claimed over 750 lives —  215 in Maharashtra, 143 in Uttarakhand, 55 in Himachal Pradesh, 53 in Kerala and 46 in Andhra Pradesh.

Thunderstorms and lightning caused more than 780 deaths. The IMD said that in 2021, events like snowfall, cold wave, dust storm, gale, and hailstorm also affected different parts of the country, leading to loss of life and livestock, injuries, and damage to crops and property.

In 2020, around 1565 lives were lost due to extreme weather events, while the number was around 1560 in 2019.

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