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Opinion

‘2020 was the 8th warmest year in India’: IMD

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Last year, 2020, was the eighth warmest year on record since national records began in 1901. Last year, the mean annual land surface air temperature averaged across the country was +0.29 degrees. C above normal (based on data from 1981-2010) according to the Indian Meteorological Department Statement on India’s Climate in 2020. This, despite the cooling effect of La Niña, a global weather phenomenon.

The greatest warming was observed in India in 2016, when the average temperature of the earth’s surface was +0.71 degrees C above normal. The temperature during the pre-monsoon season was below normal by -0.03 degrees C. But both the monsoon and post-monsoon seasons were +0.43 degrees C and +0.53 degrees C respectively, which which contributed to the warming. The average temperature during winter was above normal +0.14 degrees C.

However, India’s warming was significantly lower than the world average. The global mean surface temperature anomaly during 2020 (from January to October according to the state of the global climate of the World Meteorological Organization) is +1.2 degrees C.

Annual precipitation across the country was 109 percent of its long-term average (LPA) calculated for the period 1961-2010.

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The statement said that 12 of the 15 warmest years were during the last fifteen years (2006-2020). The last decade (2011-2020) was also the warmest on record.

The mean annual average temperature during 1901-2020 showed an increasing trend of 0.62 degrees C in 100 years with an increasing trend in maximum temperature (0.99 degrees C in 100 years) and a relatively minor increasing trend (0.24 degrees C in 100 years) with respect to minimum temperature.

Last year, average monthly temperatures were warmer than normal for all months except March and June, according to the statement. Average temperatures were above normal during September (0.72 degrees C, the warmest since 1901), August (0.58 degrees C, the second warmest), October (0.94 degrees C, the third warmest), July (0.56 degrees C, the fifth warmest) and December (0.39 degrees C, the seventh warmest).

“2020 was one of the warmest years despite La Niña with cold waters in the eastern Pacific. La Niña generally has a cooling effect on global temperatures, but now this is offset by global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, La Niña years are now warmer than El Niño years of the past. As for India, the data shows that the upward trend in temperatures is the largest during the post-monsoon season and this is reflected in post-monsoon temperatures in India in 2020, despite a full-blown La Niña. “Said Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.

“The fact that there was a rise of more than 1 degree C in global mean surface temperature over pre-industrial levels in a La Niña year is a sign of global warming. In El Niño years, sea surface temperatures are higher, as are land surface temperatures. But in La Niña years it is cooling particularly in the Indian region. Despite that, average temperatures were higher than normal due to climate change. The northern hemisphere also saw substantially higher temperatures than normal, ”said DS Pai, lead scientist at IMD Pune.

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The statement also said that India experienced some extreme weather events like extremely heavy rains, floods, landslides, thunderstorms, lightning and cold waves that killed hundreds of people.

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were the worst affected states during the year, with more than 350 people dying in each state due to thunderstorms, lightning and cold waves.

Heavy rains and floods claimed more than 600 lives in different parts of the country during the pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. Of these, 129 people died in Assam, 72 in Kerala (65 people died in a single day in Munnar, Kerala’s Idukki district on August 7 due to a landslide), 61 in Telangana (while reportedly , 59 lives were claimed only during the period from 1 to 20 October), 54 in Bihar, 50 in Maharashtra, 48 in Uttar Pradesh and 38 in Himachal Pradesh.

Electrical storms and lightning also claimed more than 815 lives in different parts of the country: 280 in Bihar, 220 in Uttar Pradesh, the rest in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Cold wave conditions also killed 150 people mainly in central India in January.

Last year, 5 cyclones formed over the northern Indian Ocean. These were super cyclonic storm Amphan, very severe cyclonic storms Nivar and Gati (both over the Arabian Sea), severe cyclonic storm Nisarga, and cyclonic storm Burevi.

Super cyclonic storm Amphan formed in the pre-monsoon season and crossed the West Bengal coast over Sundarbans on May 20. It claimed 90 lives and nearly 4,000 head of cattle, mainly in West Bengal.

According to WMO, Amphan is estimated to be the costliest tropical cyclone on record in the northern Indian Ocean with economic losses of approximately US $ 14 billion.

El Niño and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature and air pressure from the overlying atmosphere across the equatorial Pacific Ocean according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

ENSO has a great influence on weather and climate patterns such as heavy rains, floods and droughts. El Niño has a warming influence on global temperatures, while La Niña has the opposite effect. In India, for example, El Niño is associated with drought or weak monsoon, while La Niña is associated with strong monsoon, above-average rainfall, and colder winters.

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