India saw rise in extreme weather events in last 50 years: Study
LMB Staff
Written by
02/03/2021

India has witnessed a rise in extreme weather events in the last 50 years that claimed the lives of more than 1.4 lakh people, according to a paper published in ScienceDirect journal on February 26. The paper states that the period from 1970-2019 recorded 7,063 extreme weather events: heat waves, cold waves, floods, lightning, and […]

India has witnessed a rise in extreme weather events in the last 50 years that claimed the lives of more than 1.4 lakh people, according to a paper published in ScienceDirect journal on February 26.

The paper states that the period from 1970-2019 recorded 7,063 extreme weather events: heat waves, cold waves, floods, lightning, and tropical cyclones.

The paper has been authored by Kamaljit Ray, R K Giri, S S Ray, A P Dimri and M Rajeevan, who is also the secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Here are the highlights of the study:

1. A total of 7,063 extreme weather events are associated with at least one mortality. These 7,063 events caused 141,308 deaths, with an average of 20 deaths per event.

2. 65,130 people were killed in 3,175 incidents of floods. Some 40,358 people died in 117 tropical cyclones, with 344.9 deaths per mortality event.

3. There were 706 heat wave incidents that claimed the lives of 17,362 people.

4. The paper highlighted an increase of 138% in heatwaves, 193% in lightning strikes, 25% in cold waves, 28% in floods, and a decrease of 19% in tropical cyclones.

5. The mortality rates were lower in 1980-1989 as there was no major tropical cyclone landfall. In the last decade (2010-2019) the mortality rates reduced by 66.5 per cent as compared to the highest mortality rate decade (1970-1979).

It also emphasised the need to develop action plans to prioritise high population states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Maharashtra, Kerala, and West Bengal that suffer from maximum mortalities by extreme weather events .

According to the paper, “the mortality rate (per year per million population) has a decreasing trend for cold waves, floods, and tropical cyclones but it is non-significant. However, there is a significant increasing trend for lighting. Overall, this analysis indicates, even though the number of events is increasing significantly, mortality is either decreasing or not significantly increasing, except for lightning, where the increase in mortality rate is significant.”

LMB Staff
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