Country

India

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting India.

Current Climate Climatology

This page presents India's climate context for the current climatology, 1991-2020, derived from observed, historical data. Information should be used to build a strong understanding of current climate conditions in order to appreciate future climate scenarios and projected change. You can visualize data for the current climatology through spatial variation, the seasonal cycle, or as a time series. Analysis is available for both annual and seasonal data. Data presentation defaults to national-scale aggregation, however sub-national data aggregations can be accessed by clicking within a country, on a sub-national unit.  Other historical climatologies can be selected from the Time Period dropdown list. Data for  specific coordinates can be downloaded for in the Data Download page.

Observed, historical data is produced by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia. Data is presented at a 0.5º x 0.5º (50km x 50km) resolution.

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Climate Data Historical

India’s land surface can be divided into six physiographic regions: Himalayan mountains in the north, Peninsular Deccan Plateau, the Indo-Gangetic Plains, Thar Desert in the west, Coastal Plain, and the Islands. All these regions have different climate profile and vulnerabilities. The country’s is influenced by the presence of the Himalayas in the northern part of the country and the Thar Desert in the west. The Himalayan Mountains act as a barrier to winds from Central Asia and China, enabling India’s climate to be warmer than other countries at similar latitudes. The northern part of the country is characterized as a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The coastal regions of the country, however, experience warmer temperatures with little variation throughout the year and frequent rainfall. India’s seasonal cycle for the latest climatology, 1991-2020, conceals considerable regional variation. India’s monsoon season runs approximately from June to October, arriving later in more northerly regions and delivering over 80% of the territory’s annual precipitation. A shorter rainy season occurs during the months of October through December following the summer monsoon and is referred to as the post monsoon season. The southwest monsoon season (June-September) generates average monthly rainfall between 150 millimeters (mm) to 270 mm and the northeast monsoon season (October-December) generates average monthly rainfall between 10 mm and 75 mm. Large inter-annual variability is a key feature of the rainfall regime of India. This is due to both remote and regional climate influences of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole on the monsoon. Summer (May-September) temperatures are consistently high across India’s territory, with some small exceptions in its most mountainous regions. Winter (November-March) temperatures are more variable, and this variation along with different precipitation patterns determines the many climatic zones of India. The winter season brings dry and clear weather with low humidity and temperature during the months of January and February. To the west are arid and semi-arid climates including the Thar desert region, the driest areas of which experience less than 300 mm of annual precipitation and high inter-annual variability. In contrast, the Southwestern region of India has a wet tropical climate with high annual precipitation commonly well over 1,500 mm. The east coast of India also experiences consistently high temperatures and high precipitation rates, but like much of central India, precipitation is strongly controlled by the monsoon and is highly variable between years. India’s central regions experience greater seasonal temperature variation.

Temperature

  • India’s average annual mean temperature during 1901-2020 showed an increasing trend of 0.62°C/100 years, with significant increasing trend in maximum temperature (0.99°C/100 years) and relatively lower increasing trend (0.24°C/100 years) in minimum temperature. This warming trend is highest during the post-monsoon season (0.88°C/100 years) followed by winter season (0.68°C/100 years).
  • Temperature increases in India have been observed to be more pronounced in daily maximum temperatures than in daily minimums. Increases in both minimum and maximum temperatures have been observed across the majority of the Indian territory, with the exception of a small pocket of the northwestern region, where cooling has been observed.
  • India’s warming has been below the global average over the same time period. It also shows that the strongest warming has occurred in the northern and northeastern regions.

Precipitation

  • Historical trends in precipitation are strongly influenced by ENSO, which increases sea surface temperatures and reduces monsoon rainfall in India.
  • Although there is inter-annual variability, the total precipitation during the Indian summer monsoon has remained largely s over the period 1901-2019 and has shown a weak decreasing trend during the recent few decades.
  • Bihar, Meghalaya, Nagaland, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, have shown significant decreasing trends in Southwest monsoon rainfall during 1989-2018.
  • There has been a shift in the recent period toward more frequent dry spells (27% higher during 1981–2011 relative to 1951–1980) and more intense wet spells during the summer monsoon season.
  • The frequency of localized heavy precipitation occurrences has increased worldwide in response to increased atmospheric moisture content. Over central India, the frequency of daily precipitation extremes with rainfall intensities exceeding 150 mm per day increased by about 75% during 1950–2015.
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