2019 was India’s seventh warmest year, says IMD
Despite recording the second coldest December in 118 years, 2019 was the seventh warmest year on record since 1901, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). December was bitterly cold with the mean maximum temperature for the month being only 18.76 degree C, which made it the second coldest since 1901. The previous coldest December was recorded in 1997 when the mean maximum temperature was only 17.3 degree C.
Lower than the usual maximum and minimum temperatures in December did not bring down the annual average temperatures significantly mainly due to an unusually warm monsoon, according to the IMD’s statement on the climate of India in 2019 that was released on Monday.
The average temperature during the monsoon season from June to September was the warmest since 1901. The averaged mean monthly temperatures for nine months (except January, March, and December) were also warmer than normal. The mean temperatures exceeded the normal by about 1 degree C.
“El Nino, which is a global meteorological phenomenon, contributed to above normal temperatures in the first half of the year globally. But in India we also saw a delayed monsoon, which also led to warmer than usual monsoon months,’’ said D S Pai, senior scientist and climate expert at the IMD (Pune). “ But if you look at the rise in annual mean surface temperatures last year compared to the 29-year average, the rise is nearly half of what was seen in 2016 which is the warmest on record,” Pai said that this is mainly because of low temperatures in December, March, and January.
After a delayed onset of the south-west monsoon, there was very little rain in June due to the presence of a weak El Nino. The month ended with a 33% rain deficit and led to water scarcity in parts of Peninsular India.
Above-average rains from July to September led to floods in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Bihar. Monsoon season was prolonged by 39 days last year and monsoon withdrawal took place only in the span of nine days against a normal withdrawal period of 45 days.
Last year’s annual mean land surface air temperature was +0.36 degree C higher than the 29-year average for 1981-2010. The five warmest years on record in order were: 2016 (+0.71 degree C), 2009 (+0.541 degree C), 2017 (+0.539 degree C), 2010 (+0.54 degree C) and 2015 (+0.42 degree C).
The annual mean temperature during 1901-2019 showed an increasing trend of 0.61 degree C/100 years with the significant increasing trend in maximum temperature (1 degree C/100 years) and a relatively lower increasing trend (0.22 degree C/100 years), the statement said.
Last year, 5 out of 8 cyclones formed over the Arabian Sea, the highest in a year since 1902. Normally, one cyclone forms over the Arabian Sea annually and three to four over the Bay of Bengal, according to the IMD. In 1902, five cyclones had formed over the Arabian Sea.
“2019 also witnessed the development of more intense cyclones over the Arabian Sea. Out of 5 systems formed in the Arabian Sea, there were two very severe cyclonic storms, one extremely severe cyclonic storm, one super cyclonic storm,” IMD’s said.
The IMD statement said at least 1,562 people were killed because of extreme weather last year.