India 2022: An assessment of extreme weather events (January-September)


This report was published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, and Down To Earth – an online magazine, on November 1, 2022. The report has been written by Kiran Pandey from CSE and Ranjit Sengupta from Down To Earth. It sources data on climate from official sources, including the Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the Disaster Management Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change defines an extreme weather event as an event that is "rare at a particular place and time of year”. As per data collected in the report, in the 273 days between January 1 and September 30, 2022, India experienced extreme weather events on 241 days. This amounts to around 90 per cent of the days.

The extreme weather events mapped in this report include “lightning and thunderstorms, heavy to very, and extremely heavy rainfall, landslides and floods, coldwaves, heatwaves, cyclones. snowfall, dust and sandstorms, squalls, hailstorms and gales.” The report notes the number of deaths caused due to such events and the crop area affected.

This 48-page report has five sections: Executive Summary (Section 1); Regional analysis (Section 2); Seasonal analysis (Section 3); Disaster-wise analysis (Section 4); and Climate change costs (Section 5).


  1. In India, the surface air temperature rose by 0.7°C between 1901 and 2018 while the temperature of the Indian Ocean rose by 1°C between 1951 and 2015. By the end of the 21st century, the mean surface temperature in the country has been projected to increase by somewhere between 2.4°C to 4.4°C over figures from 1975-2005.

  2. As per the report, extreme weather events caused 2,755 deaths and destroyed more than 416,667 houses. They affected 1.8 million hectares of crop area and killed around 70,000 livestock.

  3. Of all the states and union territories in India, Madhya Pradesh experienced the highest numbers of days with extreme weather events whereas the highest number of deaths due to such events were witnessed in Himachal Pradesh.

  4. In January and February 2022, extreme weather events were experienced on 39 days across 21 states and union territories of India. As many as 22 people died due to the extreme conditions. Hailstorms affected 16,997 hectares of crop area in Telangana and 16,187 hectares of crop area in Haryana.

  5. As many as 81 days in March-May 2022 saw extreme weather events, the report notes. March and April 2022 were ‘unusually hot’ which led to heatwaves beginning earlier in the year. Heavy rainfall during May resulted in floods in Assam and Meghalaya.

  6. March in 2022 was the hottest month of March in India in 121 years with an average maximum temperature of 35.2°C recorded in central India (Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha).

  7. All 122 days of June-September 2022 reported extreme weather events which resulted in the loss of around 2,400 human lives, damaged 0.4 million houses and 1.8 million hectares of crop land. The events included heavy rains, floods, landslides, lightning, storms, heatwaves and snowfall.

  8. Lightning and storms resulted in the loss of 954 lives in India between January and September 2022. Bihar was one of the worst hit states with 23 days of lightning and storms, and 243 lives lost. Madhya Pradesh also recorded 164 deaths across 46 days of such extreme weather..

  9. India experienced heavy rainfall, floods and landslides on 157 days between January and September. These events claimed 1,214 lives, notes the report. Assam had 113 days with such events and reported 221 deaths.

  10. In 2022, 20 states and union territories experienced heatwaves across 66 days resulting in 45 deaths. Rajasthan experienced heatwaves for 42 days, the highest among all states. However, Maharashtra reported the highest number of deaths – 34 – across 24 days of heatwaves.

  11. Cold waves and cold days affected 14 states and union territories across 30 days between January and September 2022. Madhya Pradesh reported 21 cold days, marking the highest in India. It was followed by Uttar Pradesh with 20 cold days and Punjab with 12 cold days.

  12. Cloudbursts claimed 33 lives across four states and union territories in January-September 2022. Jammu and Kashmir experienced cloudbursts on two days of the year resulting in 20 deaths. Himachal Pradesh faced instances of cloudbursts on seven days with 12 recorded deaths.

  13. Andhra Pradesh was the only state which experienced cyclones in 2022. The event led to three deaths, the report notes.

  14. Extreme temperatures reduce the average income of farmers by 4.3 per cent in the kharif season and 4.1 per cent during the rabi season, the report states. Extreme rainfall patterns can reduce average incomes of farmers in the country by 13.7 per cent and 5.5 per cent in kharif and rabi seasons respectively.

    Focus and Factoids by Devanshi Parekh.


Kiran Pandey and Rajit Sengupta 


Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, and Down To Earth


01 Nov, 2022