Red flags: India battled record temperatures last summer along with one of its wettest monsoons, which is a cause for concern, according to the WMO | Photo: The Financial Express

WMO report raises concern over extreme weather in India

Extreme heat in India along with its erratic rainfall pattern, and extreme cyclone season in the Indian Ocean last year were among some of the major concerns that found a mention in the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) report titled ‘Statement of the State of the Global Climate in 2019’, which was released this past fortnight. The report flagged the high temperatures reported in the country between May 2019 and June 2019, especially the 48°C recorded at New Delhi’s Palam Airport on June 10. Flooding in western and northern India because of above-average rainfall in the monsoon season – the wettest since 1994 – also finds a mention, as does Cyclone Fani, which made landfall in Odisha last year.

Globally, the report stated that the mean temperature between January 2019 and October 2019, temperatures was 1.1±0.1°C above pre-industrial levels – making the past five years almost certainly the five warmest years on record, and the past decade, 2010-2019, the warmest decade on record.

Ocean heat reached record levels in 2019 as did the rising seas, the report stated. The report also mentions low sea-ice extent was observed last year in both the Arctic and the Antarctic.

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While other heat stress studies tend to focus only on heat extremes, they don’t take into account the impact of humidity on our health. This study found that humid days have become more intense and frequent as a result of global warming and this combined with extreme heat would be detrimental to human health.  

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