New Delhi: 2015 was India’s third warmest year on record since 1901, and the October to December season was the warmest, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday. The government forecaster’s statement on climate was released on the same day as Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared 2015 as world’s hottest year on record by a wide margin.

Annual mean temperature for the country was 0.67°Celsius (C) above the 1961-1990 average. According to the IMD, India has seen 12 of its 15 warmest years since 2001. The past decade was the warmest decade on record with anomalies of 0.49°C to 0.50°C.

Mean temperatures in the country as a whole were also above average in all four seasons with this year’s post-monsoon season, October to December being the warmest on record at 1.22°C more than average. The June to September southwest monsoon season, which left several states in the country struggling with droughts, was the fourth warmest in history.

“There is an increasing trend in temperatures in the last 100 years in line with global warming. Important observation is that the last four months were the warmest on record," said D.S. Pai, a senior official at IMD.

The country also experienced other high impact weather events such as extreme heavy rainfall, heat and cold waves, snow cover, thunderstorm, dust storm, lightening and floods.

Some of the events highlighted by the IMD included severe hailstorm over northwest, central and adjoining peninsula India during March; severe heat wave incidences in May over the south peninsula and eastern parts of the country; lightning in various parts of Odisha, Maharashtra and Telangana; extremely heavy rains in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan during southwest monsoon; and the exceptionally heavy rainfall event over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh during northeast monsoon.

Meanwhile, the WMO on Monday declared 2015 as the hottest year on record as for the first time temperatures in 2015 were about 1°C above the pre-industrial era. “An exceptionally strong El Nino and global warming caused by greenhouse gases joined forces with dramatic effect on the climate system in 2015," said WMO secretary general Petteri Taalas in a statement.

“The power of El Nino will fade in the coming months but the impacts of human-induced climate change will be with us for many decades," Taalas added.

Taalas stressed the need for countries to strengthen the capability to provide better disaster early warnings to minimize human and economic losses due to climate change.

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