In India, One Climatic Catastrophe Per Day
Storms, torrential rains, landslides, floods, cold spells, heat waves, cyclones, droughts, dust storms, hail, or snow: India experienced almost an extreme weather phenomenon every day in the first nine months of 2022, according to the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
Collecting data from the Indian Meteorological Department and the Disaster Management Division of the Home Ministry, the study reveals that out of the 273 days between January 1 and September 30, 241 days, i.e., 88% of the time, were marked by an extreme climatic event, defined by IPCC experts as a phenomenon “rare in a place and at a given time”. "Climate change has made it so that extreme events that used to happen once every 100 years now happen every five years," says the CSE.
These data will weigh heavily on India in the debate on loss and damage that opened at COP 27, even if the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, chose not to travel to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Hundreds of dead
The state of Madhya Pradesh, in central India, is the most affected in terms of frequency, with an episode every two days, but it is the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayas, that has had the highest death toll with 359 deaths, followed by Assam, where the catastrophic monsoon led to 301 deaths in June.
The economic and human toll is significant but underestimated, according to the authors, because of fragmented data: 2,755 victims in total, 1.8 million hectares of crops affected, 416,667 houses destroyed, and 69,007 heads of cattle killed.
Since the start of 2022, two exceptional events have taken turns: one of the wettest months of January, with precipitation levels 129% above average, and the driest and wettest month of March. hot for over 121 years. All of northern and eastern India were hit by an early, intense, and long heat wave. March, which is usually a temperate month at the end of winter in northern India, turned into a furnace. The trend continued in April and May. A record temperature spike of nearly 49 °C has been recorded in parts of New Delhi.
Already 203 days of heat wave in 2022
By adding the number of heat waves reported in each state, the Ministry of Earth Sciences revealed to Parliament in July that India recorded, across its vast territory, 203 days of heat waves in 2022, i.e., five times more than in 2021 (36 episodes). The absolute record was set in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, with 28 days of heat wave.
Source: Globe Echo