2018 – 6th Warmest Year on Record for India

Extreme weather events during 2018 and the associated loss of lives. Credit: IMD

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.