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Spotlight: Here’s how India has warmed from 1901 till 2017


Here are the key findings from Centre for Science and Environment’s study of how India has warmed over the years, also plotted in animation. The analysis looks at temperature trends in the country –both annual and seasonal– from 1901 till recent years. It finds that the country has been getting warmer continuously, consistently and rapidly.

On World Environment Day, CSE releases analysis of how India has warmed from 1901 till 2017

Down to Earth

  • First animated climate spiral showing the warming of India
  • Annual mean temperature in India has increased by 1.2 degrees C since the beginning of the 20th
  • 2016 was second warmest year on record with temperature of 1.26 degrees C higher than
  • Winter (Jan-Feb) of 2017 was hottest in recorded history with temperature of 2.95 degrees higher than the baseline.
  • India is witnessing higher frequency and intensity of extreme weather events – draughts, floods, heat waves etc.— because of rapidly increasing temperature.

 

Late last week, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Paris Agreement, driving the proverbial nail into the coffin of the already insipid accord (see our press release on this on www.cseindia.org). As the world starts to grapple with the fact of one of the top emitters reneging on all its promises, the realisation is sinking in that we have lost ground and gone back in time in our fight against global warming.

On World Environment Day, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is re-emphasising the crisis that we are faced with today – by releasing the results of a study it has done to find out how India has warmed over the years. The analysis looks at temperature trends in the country – both annual and seasonal – from 1901 till recent years. And it finds that the country has been getting warmer continuously, consistently and rapidly.

CSE researchers have plotted this rise in temperature on an animated spiral – the first such visual representation to come from India. A similar climate spiral graph depicting global rise in temperatures is already in existence.

VIEW: CSE’s animated spiral plotting warming trends in India 

What the analysis says

  • 2016 was the second warmest year on record.
  • 13 out of the 15 warmest years were during the past 15 years (2002-2016). The last decade (2001-2010/ 2007-2016) was also the warmest on record.
  • Annual mean temperature in India has increased by about 1.2oC since the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Annual mean temperature in India has rapidly increased since 1995. At this rate of increase, it will breach the 1.5oC mark within the next two decades. 1.5oC is the aspirational target set under the Paris Agreement.
  • In three out of four seasons (or nine months in a year), temperature in India has already increased by more than 1.5oC since the beginning of the 20th
  • Winters and pre- monsoon (summers) and post-monsoon seasons have seen rapidly increasing warming.
  • Mean temperature during winter months is now over 2oC warmer than in the beginning of the 20th century.
  • In the winter of 2016-17, the mean temperature was 2.95oC higher than the 1901-1930 baseline – the warmest in recorded history.
  • It is only during the monsoon months that the temperature increase is about 1o

 

What are the implications of this temperature increase?

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is increasing with rising temperature.  For example, in winters of 2017 when the average temperature was 2.95°C higher than the 1901-1930 baseline, the worst drought in a century happened in southern India: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala were worst-hit, with 330 million people coming under the grip of drought.

Similarly, during summers of 2010, when the average temperature was 2.05°C higher than the baseline, again the highest in recorded history, severe heat wave conditions prevailed over large parts of India. These conditions claimed more than 300 lives. In addition, four cyclonic storms hit India that year.

Says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE: “India is warming and warming rapidly. The implications of this fundamental fact are serious for economic, social and ecological well-being of the country. We are experiencing frequent extreme weather events, and our weather is becoming unpredictable. Losses due to extreme weather events are mounting and it is our poor who are suffering the pains of climate change.

Adds Sunita Narain, director general, CSE: “With the US exiting the Paris Agreement, controlling emissions and temperature is now a tougher task for the world. We appeal to the global community to come together and take strong actions.”

VIEW: State of India’s Environment 2017 In Figures (eBook) 

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