As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) in the US Thursday said that 2016 was on course to beat 2015 as the hottest year on record globally, the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) reiterated that for India too it “could be one of the warmest years of the century”.
MoES Secretary and lead meteorologist, Dr M Rajeevan, said this year too, January, February and March have been warm.
“In 2015, the annual mean temperature for the country was 0.67 degree Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, thus making it the third warmest year on record since 1901. However, with the rising mercury levels this year, especially in the month of March, which is yet to be assessed, it could be one of the warmest years of the century,’’ said Rajeevan.
The other nine warmest years on record are 2009, 2010, 2003, 2002, 2014, 1998, 2006 and 2007.
“It may be mentioned that 12 of the 15 warmest years in India were during the past 15 years (2001-2015), while the past decade was the warmest decade on record with decadal mean temperature anomaly of 0.49 degree Celsius,” he said.
This year, the IMD also came out with a heat index to forecast heat waves and warn regions prone to extremely hot days. The forecast is to be released every five days for the next 20 days.
“Last year, more than 2500 people died because of heat waves across the country. This is a calamity caused by weather and is as important as drought and flood,’’said scientists of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
Heat wave occurs when excessively hot weather, beyond a threshold temperature, extends over a prolonged period.
IMD Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said, “2015 was the hottest year ever recorded and our forecast predicts a summer with above normal temperatures, due to the El Nino effect. The impact will lessen eventually.’’ He added that 2016 too looked like it would be among the hottest years. Globally, the reason cited for such warm temperatures was the El Nino factor, which is likely to become neutral in the coming month.
Currently, strong El Nino conditions over the Pacific Ocean that started in 2015 are still continuing, but they will weaken further by the last phase of the summer season, stated the IMD.
NOAA said that for 2016, till date, the global average temperature was 2.07 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. It added that this was the highest temperature for the period between 1880-2016, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit.