2018 – 6th Warmest Year on Record for India

According to India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) ‘Statement on climate change during 2018’ the average temperature over India during 2018 was significantly above normal and the year was the sixth warmest year since the commencement of nationwide record keeping in 1901.

During the year, annual mean land surface air temperature, averaged over the country, was +0.410 ०C above (1981-2010 period) average. The other five warmest years on record are: 2016 (+0.720 °C), 2009 (+0.560 °C), 2017 (+0.550 °C), 2010 (+0.540 °C), 2015 (+0.420 °C).

According to the statement during 2018 the winter temperature (January-February) was recorded +0.590 °C above long-term average temperature (winter anomaly) and the temperature during pre-monsoon (March-May) season was recorded +0.550 °C above the average (pre Monsoon anomaly)- contributed to this warming. ‘Mean temperature during the monsoon (anomaly of +0.260 °C) and post monsoon seasons (anomaly of +0.310 °C) were also above normal’.

 Rainfall Trends

 As per the statement – during 2018 the annual rainfall over the country was 85 % of Long Period (1951-2000) Average (LPA). During the South West monsoon season (June-September) which is  the principal rainy season the rainfall over the country was near normal (90.6 % of LPA) while during the northeast monsoon season (October-December) rainfall over the country as a whole was substantially below normal (56% of LPA). This was 6th lowest since 1901.

High Impact Weather Events and the loss of human lives

Report says that Uttar Pradesh was the most adversely affected state during the year and reported near 600 deaths due to cold waves, thunderstorm, dust storm, lightning and floods. Reportedly 800 people lost their lives in different parts of the country (viz. northern/northeastern, central & peninsular parts) because of heavy rains and floods during pre-monsoon, monsoon & post-monsoon seasons.

The two major extreme weather events that were noticed in 2018 were- floods in Kerala in August which is conventionally not flood prone and thunderstorms in northern states in May –June. About 166 people from UP and 75 from Jharkhand lost their lives because of thunderstorms (June-July) which was another major event of the year that shook the northeastern parts of the country. In addition dust storm claimed over 150 lives from Uttar Pradesh (92 lives, 2-6 May) and adjoining parts of Rajasthan (68 Lives, April-May).

During 2018, 7 cyclonic storms formed over the north Indian Ocean. Out of these 7 systems, 3 systems formed over the Arabian Sea did not have landfall over the Indian region. One cyclonic storm was formed over Bay of Bengal in monsoon season (September) and crossed north Andhra Pradesh-Odisha coast near Gopalpur on 20th September. The remaining three systems formed over the Bay of Bengal during the post monsoon season crossed Indian coast. The first system “Titli” crossed the Odisha coast on 11th October and claimed over 70 lives from coastal districts of Odisha, the second one “Gaja” crossed Tamil Nadu coast on 15th November claimed over 40 lives from coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. The last cyclonic storm of the year “Phethai”, crossed the Andhra Pradesh coast on 17th December.

Madhavan Rajeevan‏ @rajeevan61 Jan 15 tweeted

Major extreme weather events over country during 2018 and associated loss of life. 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record since nation-wide records commenced in 1901 Five warmest years on record in order were 2016 2009 2017 2010 2015, all recent years, ‘global warming’ here.

Why USA opted out of Paris Climate Change Agreement?

Donald Trump has always been a very vocal climate change denier. Right from many years before the presidential election – till date he has repeatedly saidClimate Change a hoax, a con, a stupid thing, a canard and a manipulation by scientists.

He had said on many occasions that the ‘Global warming concept was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive’.

In a tweet in 2012 Donald Trump said “Let’s continue to destroy the competitiveness of our factories & manufacturing so we can fight mythical global warming. China is so happy!”

Apparently his opinion and stand on global warming and climate change could not get changed after becoming president.

Under Obama administration USA took leadership position during the negotiation of Paris Agreement in 2015 to make sure that the world has a new and ambitious treaty on climate change.

On June 1, 2017 while announcing the withdrawal of USA from the Paris Climate Accord President Trump could not give any cogent reasons as to why USA opted out of Paris Climate Change Agreement?

Is is certain that he fulfilled the pledge he made during the presidential election campaign to “cancel” the accord.

Given below are some of the most pressing issues Trump feels are against the USA in the Paris accord.

USA does not want to contribute financially or otherwise to the Global Climate Change funding processes under the Protocol.

Trump said that his announcement would end the implementation of carbon reduction targets set under Obama and stall all contributions to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund as these were “costing the United States a fortune.”

Under UNFCCC, negotiations take place under some guiding principles. One principal is of Common but Differential Responsibility and Related Ability. At the core of it is the fact that the rich and industrialized nations have already emitted their share of CO2.

Due to accumulated emissions  of the past, natural resources have shrinked worldwide. The people in the poor countries are dependent on the natural resources for their livelihood. Hence they have suffered the most.

The Paris Agreement differentiates the poor & developing countries from the developed and rich countries. It offers  some advantage to the poor and developing countries to compensate their loss.

It asks rich countries to provided poor countries low carbon technologies and financial resources.

He said ‘Paris Agreement has placed “draconian” financial burdens on the American people’: Through Green Climate Fund, developed countries are bound to provide 100 billion $ per year support to developing countries every year till 2020. Paris Agreement has extended the duration of this support till 2025.

According to the President it is “Yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States”.

Donald Trump hinted towards his willingness for renegotiations over the Paris agreement and said “And we will start to renegotiate and we’ll see if there’s a better deal. If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”

Trumps feel that ‘Paris Agreement is unfair to the USA as it put different level of obligations on it and top polluters like China and India’

The talks under the convention takes into account the historical responsibilities. The country that has emitted more in the past has more responsibility to curb emissions now.

Trump said “As someone who cares deeply about our environment, I cannot in good conscience support a deal which punishes the United States,” And added “The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States”.

Clearly Trump wants to completely ignore the historical CO2 emissions of USA which is far more than that of the China and India combined.

USA tops the chart of present level of per capita emissions of the countries. It comes second when total carbon emissions of the country are counted even when the population of China and India are far more than that of USA.

China and India are emerging economies. It means that their historic emissions have been negligible. Per capita emissions of these countries are still low from that of the developed countries.

But they rise in the list of biggest polluters when total emissions of the nations are taken into account because of their population size.

‘The mines are starting to open up’ — ‘American people are at loss because of the jobs lost in the coal sector’:

Paris agreement blocks the development of clean coal in America.

Through this move the severe energy restrictions imposed by the Paris Climate Accord will be removed. Trump wants to revive the country’s recently explored abundant coal energy reserves.

Trump said “The mines are starting to open up. We are having a big opening”. And of course he wants to have full utilization of that.  As per the US president this will provide jobs to the American workers in the coal industry and will fulfill his promise ‘to put American workers first’.

However how many jobs it will create is not clear. Many believe that now the renewable energy sector provides more jobs than the coal sector.

It was not only USA but virtually every nation committed to cut down on greenhouse gases emission sources from burning of fossil fuels.

The move has come as a big setback for the climate change supporters.

USA always remained out of the Kyoto Protocol 1997 as well. Kyoto Protocol is the first international agreement on climate change. The then President of USA George W Bush had refused to sign the pact.

The need for yet another climate change agreement was felt because USA was not happy with the existing one. The result was that a global exercise took place and Paris Agreement came into existence which is more bottom up in its approach than top down as against the Kyoto Protocol.

This time again USA failed to be a part of the international climate Change agreement.

 

water cycle is undergoing change

With climate change, the water cycle is expected to undergo significant change. For example, a warmer climate causes more water to evaporate from both land and oceans; in turn, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water – roughly four percent more water for every 1ºF rise in temperature