Trends on Record High Temperatures

Published: June 24, 2019

The record temperatures have become more and more frequent in recent years across the globe. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization has confirmed two very recent readings as being among the hottest on record globally 53.9 C in Mitribah, Kuwait (2016) and 53.7 C in Turbat, Pakistan (2017).

In India, Delhi reported it s highest ever temperature of 48 C while Churu in Rajasthan crossed 50 C. India s highest ever, too, came as recently as May 19, 2016 51 C in Phalodi, Rajasthan.

Study on Trends in Record High Temperatures

A study by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology predicts temperature trends in two possible scenarios viz. high greenhouse gas emissions (called RCP8.5) and substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (RCP2.6). The study makes the following predictions:

  • The record-setting high temperatures trend will continue for at least the next 20 years and even for longer unless measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Even India is projected to experience the frequent occurrence of unprecedented high temperatures over the next 20 years.
  • By the end of the century, 58% of the Earth s surface is most likely to witness at least one new monthly record temperature every year if the high-emissions scenario were to continue whereas, in the low-emissions scenario, this would likely drop to 14%.
  • The setting at least one high monthly record in any given year varies regionally from 60% to 70% in the high-emissions scenario for India. This is larger than the global average of 58%.
  • The likelihood of setting at least one high monthly record drops to approximately 15% over India in the low-emissions scenario.
  • The frequency of record high temperature for India will increase if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the frequency will fall if large and sustained cuts are made to global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • On the benefits of reducing global greenhouse emissions by the end of the 21st century, the study states that it would take more than 20 years to become clear.

Poor Countries to bear the Heat

The poorest countries would witness the highest pace at which records are set, and the greatest benefits from reducing emissions on this pace.

Records temperatures would be set in about 68% of the years in the world s Least Developed Countries and in Small Island Developing States by the end of the century, against the 54% in wealthier nations.

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