Climate change induced extreme events are playing havoc with human lives & livelihoods, show latest available data
It is evident from various studies (please click here, here and here to access) that emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) by the developed as well as the developing countries is responsible for climate change, thus causing extreme weather events to occur, with much more ferocity than in the past. The negative impact of climate change may or may not be felt in the geographical location where historically emission has taken place in large quantities (on a cumulative basis). However, climate catastrophes may be felt by a totally different region or country, which was not responsible for excessive GHG emissions in the past. That is why joint effort by all governments of the world and other social and economic players is essential to cut back GHG emissions.
Extreme weather events, among other things, include cyclonic storms, melting of glaciers, extreme changes in temperature, floods caused by excessive rainfall, and fluctuations in rainfall in comparison to the normal trend. Data compiled in the newly released EnviStats India 2022 report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) indicates that the decade of 2011-2020 witnessed the highest number of cyclonic storms that formed over the North Indian Ocean in comparison to the previous decades. Please have a look at graph-1.
Source: India Meteorological Department (IMD), Ministry of Earth Sciences, cited by EnviStats India 2022 report, Volume-I, please click here to access
Table-1 shows that the number of human lives lost due to extreme weather events increased over the years, from 834 in 2001-02 to 1,600 in 2011-12, and further to 2,391 in 2019-20. Extreme weather events also damage standing crops. India’s wheat output and yield were affected by severe heat in March-April of crop year 2021-22. The gross cropped area affected by extreme weather events grew from 18.72 lakh hectares to 63.98 lakh hectares between 2001-02 and 2019-20. Kindly consult table-1.
Table 1: Year-wise damage due to natural extreme events in India
Note: (P) Provisional *as on 31 December, 2019
The total number of deaths due to heat waves went up from 2,990 to 3,504 between the periods 2010-2014 and 2015-2019. On the contrary, the total number of deaths due to cold waves fell from 1,640 to 682 between the periods 2010-2014 and 2015-2019. The highest number of deaths due to cold waves was noticed for the period 2000-2004, which was 2,640. Please look at graph-2.
Source: India Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, cited by EnviStats India 2022 report, Volume-I, please click here to access
Table-2 indicates that most extreme weather event related deaths were caused by lightning in the majority of the years from 2016 to 2021, followed by either heat stroke, flood, or exposure to cold.
Table 2: Number of deaths due to forces of nature
Note: * does not include COVID-19 related deaths
In absolute numbers, lightning caused 2,880 deaths, whereas flooding caused 656 deaths in 2021. Please click here in order to know how lightning affects South Asia.
Component No. 4: Extreme Events and Disasters, EnviStats India 2022 report, Volume-I, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), please click here to access
Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2021, National Crime Records Bureau, please click here to access
Working Group-III Report: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, released on April 4, 2022, IPCC, please click here to access
Working Group-II Report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, released on February 28, 2022, IPCC, please click here to access
Working Group-I Report: Climate Change 2021 -- The Physical Science Basis, released on August 9, 2021, IPCC, please click here to access
News alert: Cereal inflation would be hard to tame amidst low rice acreage, Inclusive Media for Change, Published on Aug 13, 2022, please click here to access
News alert: 1,750 Indians died due to extreme weather events in 2021, says new IMD report, Inclusive Media for Change, published on Jan 28, 2022, please click here to access
News alert: Need for more weather safety awareness and lightning warning tools to save human lives, Inclusive Media for Change, published on Jul 26, 2021, please click here to access
News alert: Forest fires have become more frequent this year as compared to the past, Inclusive Media for Change, published on Apr 25, 2021, please click here to access
News alert: Extreme weather events destroying our economy in a big way, indicates official data, Inclusive Media for Change, published on Oct 14, 2019, please click here to access
Image Courtesy: Inclusive Media for Change/ Shambhu Ghatak