2020 was eighth warmest year since 1901, past two decades the warmest on record, says IMD
People in Hyderabad reeling under heatwave-like conditions as the temperature touched 43.4 degree Celsius on May 26, 2020. IANS (File photo)

2020 was eighth warmest year since 1901, past two decades the warmest on record, says IMD

New Delhi, January 7, 2021

While 2020 was the eighth warmest year since 1901, the past two decades from 2001 were the warmest on record, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said.

A statement by the IMD’s Climate Research and Services (CRS) on Tuesday said that 12 out of the 15 warmest years were during the last 15 years (2006-2020).

The annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over India during 2020 was above normal. During the year, annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over the country was +0.290C above normal (based on the data of 1981-2010). The year 2020 was the eighth warmest year on record since nation-wide records commenced in 1901.

However, this was substantially lower than the highest warming observed over India during 2016 (+0.710C). The monsoon and post-monsoon seasons with mean temperature anomalies (Actual temperature-Normal temperature) of +0.430C and +0.530C, respectively, mainly contributed to this warming. Mean temperature during the winter was also above normal with an anomaly of +0.140C. However, during the pre-monsoon season temperature was below normal (-0.030C).

The global mean surface temperature anomaly during 2020 (January to October as per WMO state of the global climate) was +1.20C (Source: https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate/wmo-statement-state-of-global-climate).

The 2020 annual rainfall over the country was 109% of its Long Period Average (LPA) based on the data of 1961-2010. The monsoon season rainfall over the country was above normal and was 109% of its LPA.

The 2020 annual mean land surface air temperature for the country was +0.290C above the 1981-2010 period average, thus making the year 2020 as the eighth warmest year on record since 1901.The five warmest years on record in order were: 2016 (+0.710C), 2009 (+0.550C), 2017 (+0.5410C), 2010 (+0.5390C), and 2015 (+0.420C).

Meanwhile, 12 out of 15 warmest years were during the 15 years (2006-2020). The past two decades (2001-2010/ 2011-2020) were also the warmest decade on record with anomalies of 0.230C /0.340C. The country’s average annual mean temperature during 1901-2020 showed an increasing trend of 0.620C/100 years with a significant increasing trend in maximum temperature (0.990C/100 years) and relatively lower increasing trend (0.240C/100 years) in minimum temperature.

The country averaged seasonal mean temperatures were also above the average during all the seasons except pre-monsoon season. The country averaged mean monthly temperatures were warmer than the normal during all the months of the year except March and June.

The mean temperatures exceeded the normal during September (by 0.720C, warmest since 1901), August (by 0.580C, second warmest), October (by 0.940C, third warmest), July (by 0.560C, fifth warmest) and December (by 0.390C, seventh warmest).

The annual rainfall over the country was 109 % of the long-period average (LPA) of 117.7 cm. Rainfall over the country during the SW monsoon season (June-September), which is the principal rainy season of the country was above normal (109 % of LPA of 88 cm). During this season, among the four broad geographical regions of the country, Central India, South Peninsular and East & Northeast India received seasonal rainfall of 115%, 129% and 106% of its LPA respectively, while Northwest India received seasonal rainfall of 84% of its LPA.

The 2020 Northeast monsoon season (October-December) rainfall over the country as a whole was normal (101% of LPA). The seasonal rainfall during the northeast monsoon season over the core region of the south peninsula (comprising of 5 subdivisions, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu & Puducherry, South Interior Karnataka and Kerala), was also normal (110% of LPA). All the five subdivisions of the core region except Kerala received excess/normal rainfall.

During 2020, five cyclones formed over the North Indian Ocean. These are Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan, Very Severe Cyclonic Storms Nivar & Gati, Severe Cyclonic Storm Nisarga and Cyclonic Storm ‘Burevi’. Of these, Nisarga and Gati formed over the Arabian Sea, while the remaining three formed over the Bay of Bengal.

Out of these five most devastating cyclones, the Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan formed in the pre-monsoon season and crossed West Bengal coast over Sundarbans on May 20. It claimed 90 lives and about 4,000 livestock, mainly in West Bengal. The Severe Cyclonic Storm Nisarga, formed in the Monsoon season, crossed Maharashtra coast on June 3, claiming four lives and 2000 livestock in Maharashtra.

The remaining three cyclones formed during the post-monsoon season. The Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts close to the north of Puducherry and claimed 12 lives and 10,836 livestock in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The Cyclonic Storm Burevi claimed nine lives and 200 livestock in Tamil Nadu. Gati made landfall over Somalia coast. All these weather systems and their remnants and other low-pressure systems caused above normal rainfall over central and peninsular India.

The country also experienced other high impact weather events like extremely heavy rainfall, floods, landslide, thunderstorm, lightning, cold waves, and so on. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were the most adversely affected states during the year which reportedly claimed more than 350 deaths from each state mainly due to thunderstorm, lightning and cold wave events.

Heavy rainfall and flood-related incidents reportedly claimed over 600 lives from different parts of the country during pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. Of these, 129 lives were reportedly claimed in Assam, 72 in Kerala (65 claimed dead in a single day at Pettimudi in Munnar, Idukki district on August 7 due to landslide), 61 in Telangana (59 lives lost during October 1-20), 54 lives in Bihar, 50 in Maharashtra, 48 in Uttar Pradesh and 38 in Himachal Pradesh.

Thunderstorms and lightning reportedly claimed 815 lives from different parts of the country. Among these, 280 were in Bihar, 220 in Uttar Pradesh, 122 in Jharkhand, 72 in Madhya Pradesh, 23 in Maharashtra and 20 in Andhra Pradesh. Cold wave conditions mainly prevailed over central parts of the country especially in the month of January. It caused deaths of about 150 people. Of these deaths, 88 were reported from Uttar Pradesh alone, 45 from Bihar only on a single day on January 1. Jharkhand reported 16 deaths.


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