IMD Issues Climate Alert, Past Decade Warmest on Record

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a climate alert in the form of a summary of the year 2020. According to the summary document, the annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over India during 2020 was +0.29° C above normal. The Global mean surface temperature anomaly during 2020, as per WMO, is +1.2° C. The monsoon season rainfall over India was also above normal and was 109% of its Long Period Average. 2020 was the eighth warmest year on record since nation-wide records commenced in 1901.

Data related to cyclonic events in 2020 has also been made available in the summary document. A total of 5 cyclones affected India in 2020. These are Super cyclonic Storm AMPHAN, Very Severe Cyclonic Storms NIVAR & GATI, Severe Cyclonic Storm NISARGA, and Cyclonic Storm BUREVI. Freak weather events also continued almost throughout 2020 in different parts of India and also resulted in tragic loss of lives.

Thunderstorms and lightning reportedly claimed 815 lives from different parts of the country in 2020. The states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were the most adversely affected states during which reportedly claimed more than 350 deaths from each state mainly due to thunderstorm, lightning and also cold wave events. Cold wave conditions mainly prevailed in the month of January 2020 and caused deaths of about 150 people. Heavy rainfall and flood related incidents reportedly claimed over 600 lives from different parts of the country during different seasons in 2020.

The IMD has also launched a Flash Flood Guidance Services – a first of its kind for South Asian countries. It spans across the following countries – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In order to better prepare to tackle climate change, the Meteorological observational network in the country has also been augmented. 102 new District Agro-Meteorological Field Units were established in 2020 in addition to 130 Agromet Field Units. In July 2020, the Ministry of Earth Science had also released an Open Access Book titled, Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region. This book can be accessed for free by clicking here.

Aradhana Sharma

Aradhana Sharma is an environmentalist and nature lover, and and takes keen interest in urging people to adopt an Eco-friendly lifestyle. She can be reached at

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