Wednesday, January 2, 2013

In the year's beginning - a sombre warning

  • Delhi has never been so bone-chillingly cold as it is today. At 9.8 degrees Celsius, the maximum temperature in the (Indian) Capital is the lowest in 44 years.
    - NDTV (02Jan2013).
  • Researchers have found that India’s monsoonal rainfall, upon which much of the nation’s agriculture depends, is becoming less frequent and more intense.
    Scientists with the agriculture division of the India Meteorological Department in Pune found that global climate change can cause departures from the historic monsoonal norm, which, on balance would lead to lower yields of rice, maize, cotton, soybeans, and other kharif (monsoonal) crops. During the rabi (dry) season, higher temperatures could cut yields of wheat, potatoes, and vegetables.
    - National Geographic (06Mar2012)
  • Kalimpong (Dist Darjeeling, India), in Sep2012, received 84% of the monthly rainfall in just one week (10-17Sep2012) with the remaining 3 weeks being largely dry.
    - STH blog.
  • In the Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya, we have not had any significant  precipitation (rain/snow) during the winter months for the last 3-4 years and what we are seeing are drought-like conditions for 7months of the year (Oct-Apr) followed by 5 months (May-Sep) of erratic rainfall. As such, looming ahead is a severe water crisis in this region.
    - Observation made locally.
  • Also rainfall patterns have changed in the Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya , with the continuous, gentle drizzle which so characterized the monsoons in the hills, being replaced by sharper and more intense downpours.(This sort of gels with the findings of researchers in the National Geographic report above).
    Sharp, intense rainfall generates higher volumes of surface runoffs and consequently more erosion and landslides.
    Increased surface runoff also means the underwater aquifers do not get time to be recharged and mountain springs are drying up like never before all along the Himalaya.
    - Observation made locally.
  • Weather extremes are not that extreme any more. Heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires are the new reality of an ever warming world
     -The Guardian (19Sep2012)
  • The first nine months of 2012 were the hottest in the United States on record.
    - Washington Post (30Oct2012)
  • 3 of the ten biggest floods in Lower Manhattan since1900 occurred in the last three years… Freak weather seems to be here to stay all over the globe.
    - Fareed Zakaria GPS (CNN, Nov2012,).
  • The likelihood of such extreme weather events is increasingly being tied to anthropogenic—or manmade, mostly through overproduction of carbon dioxide—global warming. It’s no longer an abstract idea; it’s being experienced directly and locally, on nearly every level.
    - Storm warnings : Climate Change and Extreme weather (Scientific American, 13Nov2012)
  • Researchers know that tropical storms derive their energy from warm waters. That's one reason hurricanes are much more common in the hot tropics. The Atlantic Ocean is about 1°C warmer on average than it was a century ago, in part because of man-made climate change. Warmer waters generally mean stronger storms, and indeed, scientists have agreed that climate change seems likely to lead to stronger and wetter storms, though possibly fewer of them.
    - Time Magazine (Nov2012)
  • Climate change has caused sea levels to rise, which made the storm surges and coastal flooding all the more devastating. Overall sea levels have risen by 8 in. (20 cm), and the rate has been accelerating recently.
    - Time Magazine (Nov2012)
  • We have a 100-year flood every two years now. We need to make sure that if there is weather like this, we are more prepared and protected than we have been before.
    -Time Magazine (Nov2012).

    Praful Rao

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