Extreme Weather Events and Future Projections for India N.Manikandan, Ph.

D Scholar, TamilNadu Agricultural University A climate extreme then, is a significant departure from the normal state of the climate, irrespective of its actual impact on life or any other aspect of the Earth's ecology. When a climate extreme has an adverse impact on human welfare, it becomes a climatic disaster. Any shift in average climate will almost inevitably result in a change in the frequency of extreme events. In general, more heat waves and fewer frosts could be expected as the average temperature rises, whilst the return period of severe flooding will be reduced substantially if precipitation increases. A 1 in a 100 year event for example, may become a 1 in 10 year event, whilst 1 in a 10 year event may become a 1 in 3 year event. For less adaptable societies in the developing world a shorter return period of extreme weather events may not allow them to fully recover from the effects of one event before the next event strikes.
Storm Land River Avalanch Low Tropical High Tornados Hail winds Intense Blizzard Droug Heatriver Coldstorms Absolu Mixed / Snow Relativ Rain waves surges slides flood es flows cyclones storms fall ht te e

Classification of Extreme Weather Events:

Extreme Weather Events

Why Weather and Climate Extremes Matter: ➢ Climate extremes expose existing human and natural system vulnerabilities ➢ Changes in extreme events are one of the most significant ways socioeconomic and natural systems are likely to experience climate change • Systems have adapted to their historical range of extreme events.

tornados. some of which are expected to be outside the historical range of experience.). Death and death rates due to Extreme events: Accordingly. be cognizant that adaptive capacity and exposure of human populations to risk also change over time.. will depend on both climate change and future vulnerability. magnitude. while the death rate per million dropped from 241. Figure 1 displays data on aggregate global mortality and mortality rates between 1900 and 2006 for the following weather-related extreme events: droughts. etc. can lead to increases in vulnerability to larger extremes in the long-term. Specifically. extreme temperatures (both extreme heat and extreme cold). Because of the episodic nature of extreme events. if not centuries’. . because systems have adapted to their historical range of extremes. The adaptive capacity of socioeconomic systems is determined largely by such factors as poverty and resource availability ➢ Changes in extreme events are already observed to be having impacts on socioeconomic and natural systems • • Two or more extreme events that occur over a short period reduce the time available for recovery. The cumulative effect of back-to-back extremes has been found to be greater than if the same events are spread over a longer period. such as construction of levees.3.8 to 3. the annual number of deaths declined from 485. However.g.200 to 22. waves and surges. comparing the 1920s to the 2000–2006 period. slides. it is probably best to examine cumulative deaths at the global level aggregated over all types of extreme events. on balance. worth of data. the majority of the impacts of events outside this range are expected to be negative ➢ Actions that lessen the risk from small or moderate events in the short-term. Any such examination should.4 It indicates that both death and death rates have declined at least since the 1920s. typhoons. such an examination should ideally be based on several decades’.100 (a 95 percent decline). the sensitivity of the system. and its adaptive capacity.• The impacts of extremes in the future. hurricanes. and rate of climate variation to which a system is exposed. because perceived safety induces increased development.5 (a decline of 99 percent). wild fires and windstorms of different types (e. ➢ Extremes can have positive or negative effects. Vulnerability is a function of the character. cyclones. floods. of course. to estimate the net impact of climate change on mortality (if any).

03 million and . Year to year deviations in the weather and occurrence of climatic anomalies / extremes in respect of these four seasons are:✔ Cold wave. Krishna and Cauvery. Extreme Weather Events in India: Basically.are increasing because of climate change. Virtually all of these millions were concentrated in poorer countries. Heavy rain and Landslides. Flood disasters are the largest cause of economic damages and losses of human lives in India. May) (iii) Southwest or Summer Monsoon season (June . This energy speeds up the whole system. The Brahmaputra and the Gangetic basin are the most flood prone areas. While it is true that it is difficult to attribute any single weather event to climate change. The other flood prone areas are the North West region of west flowing rivers such as the Narmada and the Tapti. Fog. Snow storms and Avalanches ✔ Hailstorm. this is because climate change is putting more energy (heat) into the world's weather systems. and ✔ Droughts Floods: In India 40 million hectares are prone to floods with 8 million hectares being affected every year. The entire year is.such as hurricanes. Central India and the Deccan region with major rivers flowing like Mahanadi. Thunderstorm and Dust storms ✔ Heat wave ✔ Tropical cyclones and Tidal waves ✔ Floods. December). increasing the number and intensity of storms. divided into four season : (i) Winter (January and February) (ii) Pre-monsoon or Hot Weather season (March . it is agreed that climate change brings more extreme weather events with it. floods.September) (iv) Post monsoon season (October. the Financial Initiative of the UN Environment Program (UNEP) recently calculated that the economic costs of global warming are doubling every decade. however. up from 740 million in the 1970s. The population affected by floods in 2005 was 32.Figure 1. the climate of India is dominated by the summer monsoon (June to September). droughts and heat waves . In fact. In very broad terms. Global death and death rates due to extreme events from 1900-2006 Summary of Extreme events over the world from 1975-2006: Causes of Extreme Weather Events: There is strong evidence that extreme weather events . The cumulative number of people affected by disasters rose to two billion in the 1990s.

6 Category Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Exceptional Table 1. 2006).390 US $.125 mm per annum.4 48.02 % area of the country affected 57. and with over 40 lakh people affected (second to China.26 1. in the Himalayan region. India’s initial National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention .42 1.The floods in 2007 have also taken a significant toll with over 1500 deaths. and changes in the type of precipitation.79 1. while 35 percent receives rainfall between 750-1.13 1. An assessment undertaken by Indian Scientists of the Indian Institute for Technology (IIT) Delhi. snow or rain. The crop loss was Rs 4. India as part of the National Communication (NATCOM) on climate change project under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Apart from changes in snowmelt and precipitation in the Himalaya.2 45. over 41 lakh victims for flood).48 million (US $ 85 million) (Kumar S. intensity and frequency of rainfall will have significant impacts on floods.16 1.51 1. and the damage to public utilities was Rs 3.17 1. changes in volume and timing of snow melt from glaciers. being the second highest with Bangladesh recording the most. 68 percent is prone to drought.4 37.0 36. receiving rainfall of less than 750 mm per annum. and of this 33 percent is chronically drought-prone.8 32.5 36. India. Climatic changes could result in more frequent high-intensity rainfall events.772.1 32. using the HadRM2 daily weather data to determine the spatial-temporal availability of in the river systems in India has indicated that that the severity of floods under the projected climate change is likely to intensify.KM) 1. Year 1961 1917 1878 1975 1884 1892 1933 1959 1983 1916 Area affected (X106 SQ.1504 lives were lost. Of the net area sown in the country.2 40. Flood years and their category Drought: Along with floods India also suffers acute water shortage.7 million (US $ 103).600.03 1. changes in the pattern.14 1. In addition about 96. In 2006 India recorded the highest economic damages from floods in the world with losses amounting to 3. Climate change will influence stream flow patterns through changes in the precipitation. The study shows that western India may experience very high river discharges more frequently than it does at present.713 livestock were killed and 1683 houses damaged.4 37. The steady shrinking of the Himalayan Glacier ranges will drastically cut down water availability in downstream plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

16 2.2 44.9 39. The cold waves mainly affect the areas to the north of 200N but in association with large amplitude troughs.4 42.7 Category Calamitous Calamitous Calamitous Severe Severe Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Table 2.15 1. Year of Drought in India Table 3: Number of Cold Waves from 1901-1999 .8 36.35 1.03 1.99 1. Delhi & Chandigarh Tamil Nadu Karnataka Telangana Rayalaseema 1901-1999 116 9 2 2 19 10 6 3 Area affected (X106 SQ. Sabarmati and Tapi are also likely to experience constant water scarcities and shortages. The northern parts of India specially the hilly regions and the adjoining plains are influenced by transient disturbances in the mid latitude westerlies which often have weak frontal characteristics. Yaer 1918 1877 1899 1987 1972 1965 1979 1920 1891 1905 Cold wave: Occurrences of extreme low temperature in association with incursion of dry cold winds from north into the sub continent are known as cold waves. the west flowing rivers of Kutchh and Saurashtra occupying about one fourth of the area of Gujarat and 60 % of Rajasthan are likely to experience acute physical water scarcity.7 34. Pennar. The river basins of Mahi.7 63.7 64. State West Bengal Bihar Uttar Pradesh Rajasthan Gujarat.39 1.24 1.09 % area of the country affrected 68.55 1.KM) 2.(UNFCCC) on Climate Change projects that Luni. cold wave conditions are sometimes reported from States like Maharashtra and Karnataka as well.22 1.4 38. These are known as western disturbances.4 49. Saurashtra & Kutch Punjab Himachal Pradesh Jammu & Kashmir Maharashtra 1901-1999 47 109 127 199 95 60 22 211 82 State Madhya Pradesh Orissa Andhra Pradesh Assam Haryana.

Monthwise. Most of the destructive cyclonic storms usually occur during the transition periods: pre . Karnataka. which lies in the path of tropical hurricanes from the Gulf of Bengal. Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are most prone to the impacts of cyclone. Saurashtra & Kutch Punjab Himachal Pradesh Jammu & Kashmir Maharashtra 2 1 66 1901-1999 61 113 134 72 51 State Madhya Pradesh Orissa Andhra Pradesh Assam Haryana. the latter being the most active period. The coastal districts of Orissa. and Tamil Nadu along the Bay of Bengal are the most affected as compared to Maharashtra. Kerala. and Gujarat which are along the Arabian Sea. Raghavan (1966) made an extensive stud of the heat wave spells of the last century for the period from 1911 to 1961. The east coast of India.3 storms form on an average during a year. even in rare cases till July over the northwestern parts of the country. About 1.(September-December) monsoon. Orissa. The projections by the National Institute of Oceanography. His study indicated that the maximum number of heat waves occur over East Uttar Pradesh followed by Punjab. under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Delhi & Chandigarh Tamil Nadu Karnataka Telangana Rayalaseema 7 61 1901-1999 99 51 24 23 3 Table 4: Number of Heat Waves from 1901-1999 Cyclones: India has an 8000 km-long coastline with two cyclone seasons. Andhra Pradesh. Government of India on the impacts of climate . east Madhya Pradesh and Saurashtra & Kutch in Gujarat.(April-May) and post. maximum number of heat waves occurred during the month of June. Consequently the states of West Bengal. State West Bengal Bihar Uttar Pradesh Rajasthan Gujarat.Heat wave: Extreme positive departures from the normal maximum temperature result in heat wave during the summer season. during the southwest and northeast monsoons. Cyclones have been observed to be more frequent in the Bay of Bengal than the Arabian Sea. is particularly at risk of being damaged by storms and floods. The rising maximum temperature during the pre-monsoon months often continues till June.

which represent a threat to the eastern coast of India and to Bangladesh.000 deaths. Orissa (India) Chirala. of deaths 300000 250000 5000 5490 11468 200000 10000 10000 990 138000 1173 9885 . Andhra Pradesh (India) Andhra Pradesh (India) Bangladesh Porbander cyclone Pradeep. This may prove to have been the worst cyclone of the century in the Orissa region and is responsible for as many as 10. The risk to these areas will be aggravated by the rising sea level. the strength of tropical cyclones. showed an increased occurrence of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal. to assess the degree to which mean sea level and the occurrence of extreme events may change. A severe Super Cyclonic Storm with winds of up to 250 km/h. The damage and destruction from such systems do not seem to decrease. could increase. crossed the coast in Orissa on October 29. their dissemination and disaster management strategies put in place by the National Weather Services world over in conjunction with the significant role played by the WMO through its Regional Meteorological Centres (RMCs) specially dealing with Tropical Cyclones. particularly in the post-monsoon period. In addition. Loss of life however. tend to show a fall as a consequence of better weather forecasts and warnings. along with increased maximum wind speeds associated with cyclones and a greater number of high surges under climate change. 1999. for rendering millions homeless and for extensive damage.change on sea level. Year 1737 1876 1885 1960 1961 1970 1971 1977 1990 1991 1998 1999 Name of the country Hoogli. West Bengal (India) Bakerganj (Bangladesh) False point (Orissa) Bangladesh Bangladesh Bangladesh Paradeep. The Tropical Cyclone of 1970 in the Bay of Bengal killed about 2 lakh people while a similar cyclone in 1991 showed a marked decrease in number of deaths. Orissa (India) No. Over the past decades the frequency of tropical cyclones in the north Indian ocean has registered significant increasing trends (20% per hundred years) during November and May which account for maximum number of intense cyclones.

00 mm) along the Gulf of Kutchh and the coast of West Bengal is the highest. grasslands and coral reefs are also likely to be affected by climate change. The diverse impact expected as a result of sea level rise include land loss and population displacement. due to erosion of the sandy beaches is also likely. The projected sea level rise of 0. With the melting of the glaciers in the Hindukush-Karakorum-Himalaya region. with an average population density of 455 persons per Km2. The area occupied by the coastal districts is around 379. Northeast India. flooding. or. increased flooding of low lying coastal area.1. along with 4200 Km of road. They can also be caused by earthquakes. The Coastal Zone: The coastal zone. submergence and deterioration of coastal ecosystems. loss of yield and employment resulting from inundation and salinization.4-2. Nilgiris. and the foreseeable increase in heavy rain events and intensity of tropical cyclones. Some of the main climate related concerns in the context of the Indian coastal zones are erosions. Future climate change in the coastal zones is likely to be manifested through worsening of some of the existing coastal zonal problems. sea level rises. The key climate related risks in the coastal zone include tropical cyclones.764 Km2 of land are will be lost. which is about 5 times the national average of 324 persons per Km2.1 million people in India and about 5.Table 5: Major cyclones of India and neighbourhood Landslides: Landslides can affect large areas of the country every year during monsoons. however there is a relative decrease in sea level.64 m. Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats. In many case these are caused by. a highly fragile eco system. A one meter sea level rise is projected to displace approximately 7. aquaculture and coastal tourism. Natural ecosystems such as mangroves. exacerbated by. It is densely populated and stretches over 800 km with the Arabian Sea in the West and the Bay of Bengal in the East. such as mangroves and salinization. This may be not true for other mangroves such as the Pichavaram and Muthupet where tidal amplitudes are much lower at 0. Under the present climate conditions it has been observed that a sea level rise (0. Along the Karnataka coast. the incidences of landslides are likely to increase. Damage to coastal infrastructure. Sea level rise would submerge mangroves as well as increase the salinity of wetlands. The extent of vulnerability however depends not just on the physical exposure to sea level rise and the population affected but also on the extent of economic activity of the areas and capacity to cope with impacts. However increased snow melt in . sea level rise and tropical cyclones.0. and changes in the temperature and precipitation.9 m seems within the ability of the Sunderban mangrove ecosystems which presently face tidal amplitudes up to 5 m. is an important and critical region for India.610 Km2. The areas that suffer from landslide hazards are located in the hilly tracts of the Himalayas. A rise in sea level is likely to have significant implications on the coastal population and agriculture performance of India.

and thus an increase in atmospheric moisture content with enhanced precipitation rates. much of what climate model studies show could happen to weather and climate extremes in the future with increased GHGs is what would intuitively be expected from our understanding of how the climate system works. thus increasing the likelihood of droughts and floods in that region. and the occurrence of long dry spells. some current models show the future mean Pacific climate base state could more resemble an El Nin˜o–like state [i. This general drying occurs because of enhanced potential evaporation and strong temperature increases outweighing any precipitation increases. An increase in inter-annual variability of the Indian monsoon has also been seen. Other recent model studies that corroborate earlier results for future climate include increased intensity of precipitation events. For such an El Nin˜o–like climate change. although it is not the case for all models and thus remains model. they are still characterized by systematic errors and limitations in accurately simulating regional climate conditions. an increase in the ability of the atmosphere to hold more moisture. This would have significant consequences on the composition of Sunderban mangroves species. Modelling of Extreme events: Recent climate model improvements have resulted in an enhanced ability to simulate many aspects of climate variability and extremes. favoring species that have least tolerance to salinity. Additionally. Some of the results of model studies published since the IPCC Second Assessment Report have corroborated the previous results. a number of changes in future weather and climate extremes from climate models have already been seen in observations in various parts of the world. more evaporation. Yet. along with reduced diurnal temperature range.e.dependent. which has been seen in some climate model simulations. slackened west-east sea surface temperature (SST) gradient with associated eastward shifts of precipitation]. future seasonal precipitation extremes associated with a given El Nin˜o would be more intense than present owing to the . This gives us increased confidence in their credibility (though agreement among models does not guarantee those changes will occur in the real climate system). or even for a more uniform future warming of SSTs across the tropical Pacific as shown in some other models. These results include increases in mean temperatures that lead to more extreme high temperatures and fewer extreme low temperatures. and a general drying of mid continental areas during summer with an increased chance of drought and increased frequency of low summer precipitation. However. For example.the Western Himalayas could bring large quantities of fresh water into the Gangetic delta. an increase of GHGs produces increased surface heating with warmer surface temperatures. Also in agreement with earlier modelling results. the probability of dry soil. encouragingly..

increased livestock death. with warmer SSTs in a future climate. commerce. injuries and infectious. increased demand for cooling. contamination of water supply Increased risk of deaths. frequency increases over land areas Virtually certain Increased yield in colder and decreased yield in warmer environments. Projections of Extreme Weather Events: Phenomenon Likelihood Impacts on major sectors & direction of of future Agriculture& Water Human trend trends Environment resources Health Over most land areas. population . frequency increases over most of the areas Very likely Adverse effects on quality of surgace and ground water. failure. declining air quality Reduction in quality of life for people in warm areas without appropriate housing Disruption of settlements.nonlinear relation between SST and evaporation. effects on some water supplies Reduced human mortality from decreased cold exposure Industry. increased risk of food water borne Areas affected by drought increases Likely Land More wide degradation. warmer and fewer cold days and nights. transport due to flloding Very likely Increased water demands. Water shortage for settlements. Settlement Reduced energy demand for heating. increased insect outbreaks Reduced yield in warmer region due top heat stress. Thus. respiratory and skin diseases` Increased risk of mal nutrition. Soil erosion. with even less precipitation over Australasia. inability to cultivate the land due to water logging Effects relies on snow melt. water quality problems eg. reduced hydropower generation. industry. warmer and more frequent hot days and nights Warm spells/heat waves. increased danger of wild fires Damages to crops. spread water lower stress yields/crop damage. Algal blooms Increased risk of heat related mortalities Heavy precipitation events. a given SST anomaly associated with a future El Nin˜o event would produce proportionately more evaporation and more intense precipitation in the central and eastern Pacific.

Ind. Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events. Vellinga and W. R. . IPCC. WWF. 5. U. pp. Geophys.3.173-187. Cicerone 3/2002 2. 3. Death and Death Rates Due to Extreme Weather Events. Extreme Weather Events over India in the last 100 years. J. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). J.De. uprooting of trees. P.S.Prakasa Rao. Indur M. loss of property Potential for movement of populations Increased incidence of extreme sea level Likely Salanisation of irrigation water. Union ( July 2005 ) Vol. estuaries and fresh water systems Decreased fresh water availability Increased risk of deaths by drowning in flood References: 1. withdrawal of risk coverage by private insurers. damages to coral reefs Power outages causing disruption of water supply diseases Increased risk of deaths. 2007. No.9.S.K. van Verseveld. September 2000 4. Climate change and extreme weather events: Is there a connection? Heather Tompkins. November 2007.increased wild fires Intense tropical cyclone activity increases Likely Damages to crops.Dube and G. post traumatic stress disorders migration Disruption by flood and high winds. Goklany.