A total of 1,428 people died due to extreme weather events in 2018, which was also the sixth warmest year since 1901, a top government official said Wednesday. The average temperature over India during 2018 was "significantly above normal", the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement. The country's average season mean temperatures were also "above the average" with the winter season (January- February, +0.59 degree Celsius) being the fifth warmest since 1901 and the pre-monsoon season (March-May) the seventh warmest, it said.
The average mean monthly temperatures were also "warmer than the normal" during all the months of the year except December, the statement said. Meteorologists have pointed out global warming as behind the rise in temperatures. "During the year (2018), annual mean surface air temperature, averaged over the country, was +0.41 degree Celsius above (1981-2010 period) average. The year 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record since nationwide records commenced in 1901," the MeT statement said.
The five warmest years on record are: 2016 (+0.72 degree Celsius), 2009 (+0.56 degree Celsius), 2017 (+0.55 degree Celsius), 2010 (+0.54 degree Celsius) and 2015 (+0.42 degree Celsius). The MeT said 11 out of 15 warmest years were during the recent past 15 years (2004-2018).
"Extreme weather events over the country during 2018. The year 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record since nationwide records commenced in 1901. The other five warmest years are 2016, 2009, 2017, 2010 and 2015, all recent years," M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said on Twitter. Citing media reports, he also posted a map depicting the number of deaths caused due to extreme weather patterns in the country that year. Of the 1,428 deaths recorded last year, heavy rains and subsequent flooding, dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning claimed half the lives.
In Uttar Pradesh, 590 people died due to extreme weather events. The state with the largest population in the country saw 158 deaths due to flood and heavy rainfall, 166 deaths due to the thunderstorm, lightning (39 deaths), dust storm (92 deaths) and cold wave took 135 lives. The casualty due to heavy rains and subsequent flooding was almost half---688 deaths---of the total number of people perished in the country in 2018. Kerala, which saw unprecedented rain from August 8 to 23, saw 223 deaths followed by Uttar Pradesh (158), Maharashtra (139), West Bengal (116) and Gujarat 52 deaths. Cyclonic storms 'Titli' and 'Gaja' killed 122 people, while avalanche claimed 11 lives in Jammu and Kashmir. PTI PR SRY
(With inputs from agencies.)