Extreme weather events struck India on 235 of 273 days in 2023

Down to Earth report says India faced extreme weather events on 235 out of 273 days, affecting all 36 states and Union Territories until September

Recurring floods are just one among several extreme weather events (photo: National Herald archives)
Recurring floods are just one among several extreme weather events (photo: National Herald archives)
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NH Digital

In a sobering assessment of India's climate landscape, the recently released Down to Earth's Climate India 2023 report paints a grim picture of the nation grappling with extreme weather events for most of the year. In the first nine months of 2023, India faced extreme weather events on 235 out of 273 days, a slightly lower count than the 241 recorded during the same period last year.

Nevertheless, the impact was widespread, affecting all 36 states and Union Territories, up from 34 the previous year. The toll has been severe, with 2,923 fatalities reported this year, compared to 2,755 last year. Despite the total cropland damaged remaining relatively stable at 1.84 million hectares, the devastation has spread across 20 states and Union Territories this year, compared to 15 last year.

The northwest states of Punjab and Haryana bore the brunt of the crop losses, a notable shift from last year when Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam were the most affected.

Dissecting the numbers, Bihar recorded the highest number of human casualties at 642, followed by Himachal Pradesh with 365, and Uttar Pradesh with 341. The report also reveals another concerning trend, with extreme weather events occurring on 28 of the 59 days in the winter months of 2023, affecting 21 states/UTs, with Punjab and Haryana being the worst-hit on 15 days.

Temperature anomalies throughout the year have been alarming, breaking records in February and reaching unprecedented levels in August and September. The report pointed to the changing frequency of extreme weather events, once considered rare occurrences happening every 100 years, now striking every five years or less.

Dissecting the numbers, Bihar recorded the highest number of human casualties at 642, followed by Himachal Pradesh with 365, and Uttar Pradesh with 341. The report also reveals another concerning trend, with extreme weather events occurring on 28 of the 59 days in the winter months of 2023, affecting 21 states/UTs, with Punjab and Haryana being the worst-hit on 15 days.

Temperature anomalies throughout the year have been alarming, breaking records in February and reaching unprecedented levels in August and September. The report pointed to the changing frequency of extreme weather events, once considered rare occurrences happening every 100 years, now striking every five years or less.

This increasing frequency, combined with the compounding impact on vulnerable communities, underscores the urgent need for global cooperation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to a changing climate.


Despite India's steps towards a cleaner energy future, the report highlights the need for more robust measures, including investing in renewable energy sources, enhancing energy efficiency, and adopting sustainable practices. Strengthening early warning systems and building resilience to extreme weather events are deemed essential for safeguarding communities and livelihoods.

The report serves as a stern reminder that addressing the global challenge of climate change requires not only individual efforts but a collective, international commitment to secure a sustainable future. As India grapples with the revenge of nature, Down To Earth's Climate India 2023 report serves as a clarion call for immediate, impactful action.

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