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Asia was the World’s ‘Disaster Capital’ in 2023: State of the Climate 2023 in Asia by WMO

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Asia was the world’s ‘disaster capital’ in 2023

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) unveiled its 4th edition of the ‘State of the Climate in Asia 2023‘, highlighting Asia’s vulnerability to weather and climate-related hazards. Year 2023 was recorded as the warmest year across six globally averaged datasets, with the years from 2015 to 2023 ranking as the nine warmest years in all datasets. This made it the disaster capital in 2023.

  • In 2023, Asia experienced 79 water hazard-related disasters, predominantly floods and storms, resulting in over 2,000 fatalities and directly affecting nine million people.
  • Throughout 2023, Asia emerged as the world’s most disaster-affected area with the mean temperature soaring to 0.91 °C [0.84 °C–0.96 °C] above the 1991–2020 reference period, marking the second-highest on record. It is 1.87 °C [1.81 °C–1.92 °C] above the 1961–1990 average.
  • Japan and Kazakhstan registered record-high temperatures.


The following Six datasets were used in the calculation of regional temperature viz.

  • The Berkeley Earth Land/Ocean Temperature Record
  • ERA5 Monthly Averaged Data on Single Levels from 1940 to Present
  • JRA-55 Reanalysis: General Specifications and Basic Characteristics
  • GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) version 4,
  • The HadCRUT5 Data Set, National Oceanic and
  • Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Global Temperature Analysis


i.Globally, the annual mean near-surface temperature in 2023 surged to 1.45 ± 0.12°C above the 1850–1900 pre-industrial average, marking it as the warmest year on record

ii.Asia’s warming trend has nearly doubled since 1960–1990, leading to increased casualties and economic losses from floods, storms, and severe heatwaves.

iii.In 2023, sea-surface temperatures in the northwest Pacific Ocean hit record highs.

iv.India experienced its highest monthly mean temperature in August 2023, coupled with an unprecedented rainfall deficit for the month.

v.Sea surface temperatures in various Asian areas, including the Arabian Sea and southern Kara Sea, are warming over three times faster than the global average.

vi.Globally, sea levels are rising due to thermal expansion and melting glaciers, but Asia’s rates are higher than the global average from 1993–2023.

vii.Despite overall lower precipitation, extreme events occurred, such as heavy rainfall in Myanmar, floods and storms across India, Pakistan, and Nepal, and record rainfall in Hong Kong.

viii.Glaciers in High-Mountain Asia, including the Tibetan Plateau, are retreating at an accelerating rate due to record-breaking high temperatures and dry conditions.

ix.From 1970 to 2021, Asia experienced 3,612 weather, climate, and water-related disasters, resulting in 984,263 deaths and USD 1.4 trillion in economic losses, with tropical cyclones as the leading cause of reported deaths.

x.In 2023, over 80% of reported hydrometeorological hazards in Asia were flood and storm events, with Yemen experiencing heavy rainfall and widespread floods.


To mitigate these impacts, the WMO and its partners advocate for strong early warning and disaster risk reduction systems in Asia. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in partnership with WMO will continue investing in raising climate ambition.

About State of the Climate in Asia Report:

It is an annual State of the Climate in Asia Report. It is collaborative effort of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), WMO Regional Climate Centres (RCCs), research institutions, and UN agencies, and offers comprehensive updates on climate indicators, impacts, risks, and policy tailored to Asia’s needs in climate monitoring, change, and services.

Recent Related News:

i.The Bihar government has brought out the ‘Patna Declaration’ to strengthen bird conservation initiatives and address the challenges posed by illegal hunting in the South Asian region.

ii.The Government of Goa has announced a partnership with the World Bank (WB) to establish a Blended Finance Facility (BFF) for climate resilience.

About World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
Secretary-General– Celeste Saulo
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment– 1950