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Why India is Warming Slower than the World


The world’s yearly mean temperature is reported to have risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to the norm between 1850 and 1900. However, as is to be expected, this growth is not constant.

varied geographical areas and seasons have varied effects on it.


GS Paper-3: Biodiversity, and Environment

Mains Question

Examine the causes of India’s temperature increase being less than the world average. (150 Words).

Points to remember

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) founded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a scientific organisation in 1988.

It received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to influence and inform global climate change policy.

Important Takeaways:

  • The temperature rise over land is substantially higher than that over the oceans.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent assessment shows that since preindustrial times, the annual mean temperature has increased overland by as much as 1.59 degrees Celsius.
  • In comparison, ocean temperatures have increased by roughly 0.88 degrees Celsius.
  • There are vast differences in the warming trends over the Indian region.
  • Annual mean temperatures had increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1900, according to a Ministry of Earth Sciences estimate of climate change over the Indian subcontinent.
  • This is much less than the global increase in land temperatures of 1.59 degrees Celsius.
  • The Arctic has experienced noticeably more warming than the other polar areas.
  • According to the IPCC study, the Arctic has warmed at least twice as much as the rest of the world.
  • Compared to pre-industrial times, its present annual mean temperatures are around 2 degrees Celsius higher.
  • Other research indicate that the Arctic may be warming much more quickly.
  • The albedo effect, or how much sunlight a surface reflects, is another significant factor.
  • Ice traps the least amount of heat and reflects the majority of solar energy as compared to land or water, therefore when the Arctic’s ice cover melts, more land or water will be exposed to the sun.According to more recent study, the albedo effect, changes in clouds, water vapour, and air temperatures could all be to blame for the increased warming in the polar region.
  • The 1.1 degree Celsius increase in global temperature can be mostly attributed to the warming in the polar regions.

Why Is India Warming Less?

  • Tropical Location: o It is well known that the increase in temperature is more pronounced at higher elevations, close to the polar regions, than close to the equator.
    • This is caused by a variety of atmospheric events, including the movement of heat from the tropics to the poles via prevailing air circulation patterns.
  • India is located in a tropical area, somewhat near to the equator.
  • Land-Ocean Dynamics: In India, the distribution of land and oceans affects the country’s rising temperature.
    • Compared to land, oceans have a higher heat capacity and can store more heat energy.
    • As a result, land areas typically warm up more quickly than oceanic locations.
    • Because India is primarily an oceanic landmass, the moderating impact of the surrounding waters is likely the cause of the country’s significantly slower temperature rise.
  • Atmospheric Circulation: India’s proximity to the equator and tropical climate have an impact on atmospheric circulation patterns.
    • Air mass movement, like the monsoon circulation, can affect regional temperature changes.
    • The monsoon winds bring rain and moisture to India, which has a cooling impact and helps control the temperature.
    • The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which brings moisture and cloud cover that can lower temperatures, also has an impact on India’s climate.
  • Aerosols’ Impact: Aerosols are any type of particle suspended in the atmosphere, and they have the capacity to modify the local temperature in a variety of ways.
    • Many of these reflect sunlight back, allowing the soil to absorb less heat.
    • Aerosols have an impact on how clouds form. The amount of sunlight that is reflected or absorbed is affected by clouds.
    • Both natural and artificial factors contribute to the high aerosol concentration over the Indian subcontinent.
  • India is accustomed to dust due to its location in the tropics and its dry environment. However, there is currently a lot of pollution there as well.
  • A lot of aerosols are produced in the Indian region as a result of emissions from automobiles, industry, construction, and other activities.
    • An unforeseen but advantageous side effect could be a decrease in warming.
    • Over the Indian region, aerosols have the capacity to prevent warming by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius.

Factors Affecting the Difference in Global Temperature Rise Between Different Regions:

  • Heat Capacity: Oceans are more heat-resistant than land. They have greater capacity for heat energy absorption and storage.
  • Oceans warm up consequently more gradually and to a lesser amount than land regions.
  • Surface Albedo: Surface reflectivity is referred to as albedo. The albedo of land surfaces, particularly those with darker hues like asphalt and forests, is lower and absorbs more solar radiation, hastening warming.
    • By contrast, oceans’ reflecting properties cause a greater proportion of solar energy to be reflected back into space, lessening the warming effect.
  • Temperature disparities are influenced by heat transfer, which is the transport of heat energy by air circulation patterns from the tropics to the poles.
    • Warm air rises near the equator and flows in the direction of the poles, transferring heat.
    • Higher latitudes, especially in the polar regions, experience more warming as a result of this process.
  • Atmospheric Dynamics: o The distribution of temperature is influenced by atmospheric circulation patterns such prevailing winds, jet streams, and global wind systems.
    • The regional changes in temperature can be influenced by these patterns, which can move warm or cool air masses across different regions.
  • Land Use Modifications: o Human activities like urbanisation and deforestation alter the land surface and may be a factor in localised temperature rises.
    • Urban areas absorb and retain heat due to their concrete and asphalt surfaces, resulting in “urban heat islands” with greater temperatures than the nearby rural areas.
  • Ocean Currents: Ocean currents have the power to carry warm or cold water masses across great distances, changing local temperature patterns.
    • Temporary temperature anomalies can be brought on by changes in ocean currents, such as El Nio or La Nia occurrences.
  • Geographical Features: o Mountain ranges, sizable water bodies, and closeness to coastal regions can all have an impact on regional temperature variances.
    • Mountains can provide temperature gradients, with lower temperatures at higher altitudes and maritime effects and breezes affecting coastal regions.


Several factors, including India’s tropical position, land-ocean dynamics, and aerosol concentrations, affect temperature trends, causing India’s temperature rise to deviate from the world average. Understanding the impacts of climate change in India requires an understanding of these complexity.

February 2024