NEW DELHI: Last year was the fifth warmest for India in the last 121 years – after 2016, 2009, 2017 and 2010 – according to the Annual Climate Statement 2021 released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday. The revelation comes in the backdrop of an intensifying global fight against the ongoing climate crisis.
The mean air temperature in 2021 was 0.44 degrees Celsius above normal, says the IMD report. In 2016, the mean air temperature was 0.71°C higher than normal; 0.55°C in 2009; 0.54°C in 2017 and 0.53°C in 2010.
In the 121 years between 1901 and last year, the mean temperature rose by 0.63°C above normal.
IMD scientists said a particularly warm winter and the post-monsoon season in 2021 led to the increase in mean temperature last year.
In the winter months of January and February last year, the seasonal mean temperature was 0.78°C above normal and during the post monsoon season, between October and December, the mean temperature was 0.42°C higher than normal.
Also, the country last year witnessed a rise in the annual rainfall, which was 105% of its long-period average (LPA). Rainfall during the southwest monsoon season, from June to September, was normal at 99% of the LPA. Notably, the northeast monsoon period saw rainfall at 171% of the LPA – record highest since 1901.
Heavy rainfall and flood-related incidents claimed over 750 lives last year, while thunderstorms and lightning killed at least 780 people in different parts of the country, the IMD data shows.
There were five cyclonic storms in 2021 – Tauktae over the Arabian Sea (May 14-19); Yaas over the Bay of Bengal (May 23-28); Shaheen over the Arabian Sea (September 29-October 4); Gulab over the Bay of Bengal (September 24-28) and most recently, Jawad over the Bay of Bengal (December 2-6). The most devastating of them was Tauktae, which slammed the Saurashtra coastline on May 17, eventually claiming at least 144 lives.
On Thursday, Nasa and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released analyses of global weather station and ocean measurements that showed the last eight years were the hottest in global records that date to 1880, with 2021 ranking as the sixth-hottest year.