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Extreme Weather In India Is Not Getting Worse

November 11, 2022

By Paul Homewood



At COP27, developing nations are demanding climate reparations, to pay for the so-called loss and damage caused by global warming.

But is there any evidence of this damage?


Let’s take a close look at India, which is obviously populous, is highly vulnerable to extreme weather and has a long record of high quality meteorological data thanks to the Indian Meteorological Department, which was formed in 1875.

Naturally, as far as weather is concerned, the prime concern in India is the monsoon. The chart below highlights the years of flood and drought, when rainfall is 10% above or below average:

FLOOD YEARS: During the period 1871-2015, there were 19 major flood years, defined as years with AISMR in excess of one standard deviation above the mean (i.e., anomaly exceeding +10%; blue bars above):

1874, 1878, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1910, 1916, 1917, 1933, 1942, 1947, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1970, 1975, 1983, 1988, 1994.

DROUGHT YEARS: During the period 1871-2015, there were 26 major drought years, defined as years with AISMR less than one standard deviation below the mean (i.e., anomaly below -10%; red bars above):

1873, 1877, 1899, 1901, 1904, 1905, 1911, 1918, 1920, 1941, 1951, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2014, 2015.

It is interesting to note that there have been alternating periods extending to 3-4 decades with less and more frequent weak monsoons over India. For example, the 44-year period 1921-64 witnessed just three drought years; during such epochs, the monsoon was found to be less correlated with the ENSO. During the other periods like that of 1965-87 which had as many as 10 drought years out of 23, the monsoon was found to be strongly linked to the ENSO (Parthasarathy et al., 1991).

As is pointed out, there appear to be ENSO related cycles of drought and flood. The 1900 to 1920 period is dominated by drought years, as is the 1960s to 80s. In contrast the 1940s and 50s were much wetter.

But what is also apparent is that extremes were much more common in the past, both wet and dry. The above chart only runs to 2017, but as we can see below none of the last four years have exceeded the 10% anomaly (nor has this year, although it is not yet shown):

All India Summer Monsoon Rainfall

It is particularly worth noting the drought of 1878. According to Wiki:


The Great Famine of 1876–1878 was a famine in India under Crown rule. It began in 1876 after an intense drought resulted in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau.[1] It affected south and Southwestern India—the British-administered presidencies of Madras and Bombay, and the princely states of Mysore and Hyderabad—for a period of two years. In 1877, famine came to affect regions northward, including parts of the Central Provinces and the North-Western Provinces, and a small area in the Punjab.[2] The famine ultimately affected an area of 670,000 square kilometres (257,000 sq mi) and caused distress to a population totalling 58,500,000.[2] The excess mortality in the famine has been estimated in a range whose low end is 5.6 million human fatalities, high end 9.6 million fatalities, and a careful modern demographic estimate 8.2 million fatalities.[3][4] The famine is also known as the Southern India famine of 1876–1878 and the Madras famine of 1877.

The Great Famine may have partially been caused by an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau.[1] It was part of a larger pattern of drought and crop failure across India, China, South America and parts of Africa caused by an interplay between a strong El Niño and an active Indian Ocean Dipole that led to between 19 and 50 million deaths.[5]

It gives the lie to the myth that weather disasters did not happen in the past.

The other major problem for India and its neighbours is tropical cyclone activity.

TCs in the Indian Ocean have a slightly different classification to the Saffir-Simpson scale. The strongest ones are labelled “Extremely severe cyclonic storms” and “Super cyclonic storms” – the latter are broadly similar to Cat 5s, and the first are similar to Cat 3s and 4s. Both categories are counted in the chart below:



There is plainly no evidence of increasing trends.

interestingly the he world’s highest recorded storm surge of 45 feet occurred in this region, during the 1876 Bakherganj cyclone near Meghna Estuary, Bangladesh. As you will note, this was the year when the Great Famine began.

There is no evidence whatsoever that the climate is getting worse in India. While India is not the whole of the world, and there may be perfectly natural regional variations elsewhere, India is one of the few places outside of the developed world that has high quality and continuous data back to the 19thC.

And that data destroys the basic assumption behind demands for reparations, that a warmer planet by itself inevitably makes droughts, floods and storms worse.

  1. November 11, 2022 2:34 pm

    There never has been or will be any evidence of human induced climate change based on the emissions of carbon dioxide. All there ever has been or will be are opinions based on computer models running with inbuilt assumptions to give the previously determined answer.

  2. John Hultquist permalink
    November 11, 2022 5:39 pm

    Normal wins, while drought seems about 40% more common than floods. Not quite Genesis 41:30, but close. I wonder if the ancient texts of India have anything similar.
    India has two issues needing to be dealt with within the Nation, namely religions and population dynamics. The weather will vary despite wishes to the contrary, and insofar as the population is expected – over the next 30 years – to grow by 240,000,000, there is a built-in need for energy and services that cannot be met.

    • Janice Moore permalink
      November 11, 2022 6:11 pm

      Good point.

      And, despite far less ability (fossil fuel shipping of food, for instance) to cope with drought, the Egyptians and Israelites are still here.

  3. Gamecock permalink
    November 11, 2022 6:18 pm

    ‘At COP27, developing nations are demanding climate reparations’

    There are no ‘developing nations.’ It is a lie. And giving them more money damn sure will delay any possible development.

    Does Hindi even have a word for ‘reparations?’ Me thinks people are putting words into the mouths of nations-of-arrested-development.

    • Stuart Brown permalink
      November 11, 2022 7:44 pm

      क्षतिपूर्ति apparently, though I’ll rely on your browser to render that correctly. And I would agree that any nation capable of launching anything above the atmosphere and building a home designed nuclear power station already has the smarts to pull on its own bootstraps – and therefore is not really needful of reparations to a ‘developing nation’.

      I used to work with a lot of very smart graduate folks from India. I don’t think India is a nation of arrested development, to be honest. I think they are going to eat our (UK) lunch. We gifted them bureaucracy to slow them down.

  4. GeorgeLet permalink
    November 11, 2022 7:19 pm

    Funny: If it wasn’t such a baseless scam it would be funny – – like Groucho as president of Fredonia going to the West and saying we have bad weather and you have to pay us because you caused it. Meanwhile in actuality the earth is getting greener and crop yields are up.

    • November 11, 2022 9:17 pm

      One of the absurds made a fatuous pronouncement of wanting to make the whole world greener! Obviously he lives in an alternative universe where activist pamphlets are the source of all wisdom and knowledge!

  5. November 11, 2022 9:14 pm

    Am I alone in having a feeling of deja vu when considering the absurd spectacle of tens of thousands of worthless parasitic human beings flocking to the latest gathering of the asinine and specifically pointless…COP27 If they could not sort it out between COP1 and COP26 (not that there is anything in need of sorting out except them themselves) ,who on earth sees this as anymore than an annual jolly for the absurd and the worthless? The feeling of deja vu comes from remembering the late and much missed Douglas Adams and his Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy where he tells the tale of the Golgafrinchans having to leave their planet and sending out first the B Ark full of the worthless third of their population (who ended up on the proto Earth).
    Our Golgafrinchans B Ark occupants are all currently making documentaries about themselves and each other, actors performing in various theatrical roles at the latest pointless Cop27.
    I think the world and mankind’s position would improve dramatically were the venue(s) they are currently infesting to miraculously fly off into space, never to be seen again….ho hum!

  6. David Wojick permalink
    November 11, 2022 11:41 pm

    They are going to count all bad stuff as loss and damage due to human caused climate change. Colombia at COP27 just announced its loss and damage — an incredible $800 billion a year. It’s GDP is only $314 billion.

    Clearly a hoax in progress.

  7. Derek T permalink
    November 12, 2022 10:49 pm

    The Western governments are in so deep that they seem unable to get out of this mess. Trump was in the best place to do something and he, sadly, flunked it. No one else has dared to even seriously attempt to question the fundamental premise that there is a climate emergency. Now the whole thing is getting completely out of hand with demands for more and more money and our leaders are well and truly hooked. They will delay and make excuses, while still tacitly admitting they accept that they should pay up. It reminds me of dealing with a time share salesman – You know you should never have engaged with him, but were too polite to tell him you were not interested at the start. Now you find yourself listening to a long video and being pressured to sign up. Sadly our leaders have signed up and now they would like to get out of the contract.

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