The year 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record in India since it commenced keeping nation-wide records of weather events in 1901, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday while noting that the country had lost over 1,400 lives in extreme weather events last year.
Highlighting that the average temperature over India during 2018 was “significantly above normal”, the national weather forecaster said annual mean surface air temperature (averaged over the country) during the year was 0.41°C above (1981-2010) average.
It was, however, less than the global mean temperature for the January-October period when the world recorded 0.98°C (+/- .12°C) above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900), making 2018 the fourth warmest year globally on record. The analysis is part of IMD’s report on ‘Climate of India during 2018’, released on Wednesday.
“All the six warmest years on record in India were in the last 10 years. It clearly shows that ‘global warming’ is happening and we need to prepare ourselves to face its consequences,” said Secretary of the ministry of earth sciences M Rajeevan.
He told TOI that better weather forecasting system and robust disaster management system would help local authorities in saving lives and properties.
Analysing temperature rise trend, IMD noted that 11 of 15 warmest years in India were reported during the past 15 years (2004-2018). It said, “The annual mean temperature during 1901-2018 showed an increasing trend of 0.6°C per 100 years.”
As far as 2018 is concerned, the winter season was the fifth warmest since 1901. It said, “The country averaged mean monthly temperatures were warmer than the normal during all the months of the year (except December)”. The mean temperatures exceeded the normal by around 1°C during two months – February (0.93°C) and March (0.96°C).
The IMD report shows that Uttar Pradesh (UP) had recorded maximum casualties (590) in extreme weather events followed by Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir. Odisha and Tamil Nadu had reported most of their casualties in cyclone-led floods & heavy rains.
Among extreme weather events, floods and heavy rains were the biggest killers (over 800 lives) last year followed by a thunderstorm (166), dust storm (150), cold wave (146) and others including lightning and heat wave.
In UP, the largest number of casualties out of total 590 were reported due to thunderstorms (166) followed by floods & heavy rains (158), cold wave (135), dust storm (92) and lightning (39). In Kerala, all 223 lives were lost due to floods & heavy rains during August 8-23 period.
As far as rainfall is concerned, the annual rainfall over the country was 85% of the Long Period (1951-2000) Average (LPA) in 2018. Though rainfall over the country as a whole during south-west monsoon season (June-September) was below normal (90.6% of the LPA), it was quite deficient (56% of the LPA) during the north-east monsoon season (October-December).