From 1901 to 2017: Know how India’s temperature is increasing over the years

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New Delhi, June 6: On the occasion of World Environment Day, celebrated across the globe on Monday, Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment released a study-- India warming analysis-- to understand how India's temperature graph has changed in the last 116 years (from 1901 to 2017).

The study, first-of-its-kind, clearly showcased that the country's temperature has considerably increased, making it much hotter than a century ago.

summer

According to the study, the annual mean temperature in India has increased by 1.2 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, 2016 was the second warmest year on record with temperature of 1.26 degrees Celsius higher than its previous years.

Moreover, the winter of January-February in 2017 was hottest in recorded history with temperature of 2.95 degrees Celsius higher than the baseline.

"India is witnessing higher frequency and intensity of extreme weather events-- droughts, floods, heat waves, etc.--because of rapidly increasing temperature," stated a press release of the CSE.

"Along with the India warming analysis from the CSE, Down To Earth (a magazine run by the CSE) released its State of India's Environment in Figures--a unique collation of data on environment-development issues, in the form of an e-book. The e-book covers subjects ranging from environmental crime and climate change to air pollution and water contamination," added the press release.

The study looked at temperature trends in the country--both annual and seasonal--from 1901 till recent years. The analysis showcased that the country has been getting warmer continuously, consistently and rapidly.

The researchers of the CSE 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. 

What the analysis says

1. 2016 was the second warmest year on record.

2. 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.

3. Annual mean temperature in India has increased by about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the 20th century.

4. Annual mean temperature in India has rapidly increased since 1995. At this rate of increase, it will breach the 1.5 degrees Celsius mark within the next two decades. 1.5 degrees Celsisus is the aspirational target set under the Paris Agreement.

5. In three out of four seasons (or nine months in a year), temperature in India has already increased by more than 1.5 degrees Celsisu since the beginning of the 20th century.

6. Winters and pre- monsoon (summers) and post-monsoon seasons have seen rapidly increasing warming. Mean temperature during winter months is now over 2 degrees Celsius warmer than in the beginning of the 20th century.

7. In the winter of 2016-17, the mean temperature was 2.95 degrees Celsius higher than the 1901-1930 baseline--the warmest in recorded history.

8. It is only during the monsoon months that the temperature increase is about 1 degrees Celsius.

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 degrees Celsius 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 degrees Celsius 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.

Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, the CSE, says,"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."

Sunita Narain, director general, the CSE, says, "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."

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