Bhubaneswar: The effects of global warming on India is receding if the pattern of heating up of the country over the past several years is any indication.
What comes as relieving fact for the country amid growing concerns over global warming is, India was hotter by 0.29 deg C in 2020 even as the mean surface temperature of the globe rose by 1.2 degrees Celsius.
More comforting trend for the country is the warming up phenomenon of India has been slowing down. From a high of 0.72 degrees C rise in 2016, the rise in annual mean surface temperature dipped to 0.54 deg C in 2017, 0.42 deg C in 2018, 0.36 deg C in 2019 and 0.29 deg C in 2020, even as the year had been the eight warmest year in the country's history.
The evolving significant weather pattern in the country had been revealed in the annual climate summary of 2020 that was released by the country's lead met agency - Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) on Monday.
What's the C (cool) Quotient?
"The rise in annual mean temperature in the country vis-a-vis the observed normal mean temperature was observed since 2014, and the meteorological reason behind the highest rise in 2016 was attributed to two consecutive El Nino years of 2014 and 2015. Also, the world had witnessed the strongest El Nino in 2016. This weather phenomenon was responsible for the warming up of India since 2014," explained Sarat Sahoo , former Director IMD, Bhubaneswar.
He further added that the relatively slower warming up in 2017, 2018 could be attributed to La Nina conditions.
"The lowest ever rise in annual mean surface temperature in 2020 and lesser heat waves in the country were mainly due to two weather phenomenon - a weak la Nina condition and Western Disturbances. Western Disturbances are actually winter phenomenon, but this year the weather event was witnessed in April and May," explained Mrityunjay Mahapatra, DG IMD.
However, Met scientists are of the view that, notwithstanding the slowing down of heating up, the year 2020 going to become the 8th most warmest year in country shows the existence of the real perils of global warming.
Odisha Going Weather- Proof?
Despite Odisha being counted as the most disaster prone State in the country, the State had recorded the least adverse weather events in the year 2020.
Historically seen, Odisha used to bear the brunt of three significant adverse weather events - heat wave, lightning and cyclone.
The fortuitous fact here is in adverse weather related casualties and losses, Odisha didn't figure in the top -10 states in the country in the year 2020. Notwithstanding the scare of super cyclone Amphan, the year 2020 had not proved a calamitous one for Odisha.
In a break, Odisha in year 2020 recorded only one cyclone. Since 2018, Odisha had been witnessing the fury of two cyclones. The State was hit by 2 cyclones (Daye and Titli) in 2018. While Odisha faced extremely severe cyclone Fani in the month of May, cyclone Bulbul impacted State in November, though the landfall was in West Bengal.
As far as lightning strikes in Odisha are concerned, the year 2020 witnessed a lower count of lightning strikes. The deaths during March - September ( the lightning months in the State) stood at around 60. July saw the maximum deaths of 13 in the State and is followed by March (11) and April (11).
More significant is, last year Odisha had recorded the lowest ever heat wave spells since the year 2016. As per the data available with IMD, Odisha saw around 2 heat waves (in month of May) during 2020 from a high of 41 heat waves in 2017. The year 2019 had recorded 6 heat waves, despite large-scale destruction by extremely severe cyclone Fani.
The generosity of weather for Odisha in year 2020 has been well reflected from the fact that despite the month of August receiving around 45 per cent of the Monsoon seasonal rainfall the State had received, Odisha didn't witness any major flood.
Since August witnessed a record five lows in 2020 monsoon, and as the duration of monsoon lows stayed over the Indian landmass for a record 28 days, Odisha received the highest rainfall during the month. For which, August 2020 entered the weather history books as the 4th highest recorded rainfall month in the country's history.
The cold wave in 2020 in Odisha: While in the first week of January 2020, the State had recorded cold wave spell, another spell was recorded in the fourth week of December 2020. But not the coldest season ever in Odisha's history.