In the past 123 years, the warmest February of our country was in 2023. A little later, Biparjoy became the most long-lasting cyclone of our last half-century. Currently, Delhi has recorded the highest rainfall in four decades. Flash floods, landslides, and extreme weather events are wreaking havoc across the country. India's battle with natural disasters is reaching alarming proportions. As all this fury becomes the new normal, experts attribute it to the escalating levels of climate crisis and global warming.
Flood, drought, rainfall, snowfall, heatwave, cold wave, storm, cyclone, cloudburst, forest fire… You name it, we have it! But the biggest question is how and why?
The modern life we have created is good for us but not for the environment. This energy-hungry human lifestyle is heating up the world at a rate that is not sustainable for the planet. In the past 170 years or so, industries have flourished and have made the Earth hotter by over 1oC. India, for instance...
Well, Christmas is not much of a fairytail for the future, as it is faced with the consequences of climate change.
This summer, I got a chance to visit Santa Claus--the real one—in the Arctic Circle. Growing up we’ve all heard stories about the spirit and wonders of Christmas, either in school or home, or through movies and TV.
On September 1, 2021, New Delhi recorded the highest single-day rainfall in about 2 decades—112.1mm. The highest rainfall recorded in the national capital is 172.6mm on September 16, 1963. The city received rainfall just as schools had reopened 17 months after COVID restrictions. The rainfall led to water-logging in several parts of the city leading to severe traffic jams. On average, Delhi receives 125.1mm of rainfall in September every year.
Rainfall is probably the most common natural weather event on this planet. But it is not that common when it comes to the ice sheets of Greenland, where temperatures seldom cross the freezing point. But on August 14, 2021, something unprecedented happened. The Summit of Greenland, which is the highest point of its ice sheets, received rain for the first time in recorded history.
China’s central Henan province witnesses its heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years. At least 25 people, including 12 subway passengers, have been killed in the rainstorm so far.
Salem is one of the largest cities in Tamil Nadu, India. More than 1 million people live here. Piyush Manush is the convener of the Salem Citizen's Forum (SCF). SCF is an informal group, involved in protecting Salem's environment. The lake was built by the British for irrigating nearby farmlands. The lake is spread across 58 acres and used to be a major water body of the city. But gradually it became a dumpsite for Salem's municipal solid waste. In 2010 SCF took over the work of cleaning the lake. But first, they had to get rid of the garbage and then desilt the waterbody.
West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh were among the six states that received rainfall exceeding their long-term averages between March 1 and March 12, 2020.
Holi, famously known as the festival of colours, is celebrated in the month of March every year. Typically the day involves playing with dry and wet colours to mark the beginning of the spring season. In 2020, however, things were different. Instead of a bright, sunny day that we are used to during Holi, we woke up to a morning that was cold and breezy. In some parts of the country, there was even fog! Winter had not ended.
Carrying water by trains could be an emergency measure. Chennai has a strong tradition of water harvesting. But the problem is that most of these structures are either defunct or poorly maintained. Chennai which had 19 major lakes covering an area of 1130 hectares. But these waterbodies have been heavily encroached upon reducing their spread to just about 645 hectares. Its time that we understand the importance of water harvesting.
As per the World Bank, changes in average temperature and precipitation would impact 600 million lives in India.
There is scientific evidence that global warming is leading to more moisture loading in the atmosphere, which, in turn, is causing more extreme precipitation events. Raghu Murtugudde, a professor at Maryland University, US, recently said that there is a clear link between extreme rainfall events and global warming.