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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This May 2nd hottest since 1880

New Delhi: It's not just India that is baking. Globally, too, this seems to be one of the worst summers in recorded history. The global average temperature for May was the second hottest ever since 1880—the year records were first compiled—the US National Climatic Data Centre has said. Only 2010 witnessed a worse May. 

    According to the NCDC, such a hot May has never been recorded in the northern hemisphere. No scientist will pin it on human-induced climate change—it is scientifically untenable to do so—but many affirm that these extreme weather phenomena are along predicted lines of rise in temperatures. For India, the looming possibility of El Nino dulling the monsoon rains means things could get worse. Weather systems kaput, world feels the heat 
New Delhi: India, and the world, seem to be feeling the heat this year. In the country, there is half a chance that the El Nino phenomenon will pick up intensity and hit the tail of the monsoon. Thirteen of the 20 times El Nino has been recorded, it has dimmed monsoon's intensity, causing widespread drought. Already, the northwest region of the country has suffered a rainfall deficit worse than the rest of India. 
    But the misery of rising heat is being felt worldwide with "normal weather" systems in disarray. If large areas of the western Himalayas 
in Uttarakhand have suffered raging forest fires, so has the US — more than 8 lakh hectares have been engulfed in flames. The March-May period for the US has been the hottest ever. 
    Brazil is in the midst of its worst drought in five decades with more than 1,000 towns suffering. Heavy downpours and unheard of hail has hit China and flash floods have ravaged crops in Ethiopia. The Eurasian snow cover extent has been recorded at its smallest ever for the month of May since such records were maintained for the first time in 1967. The cover was 2.67 million sq km below average in May, the NCDC said. 

    The southern hemisphere, where winters prevail at the moment, too has been recording extremes like never before. The Australian winter has been exceptionally cold, with the fifth coolest 
winter minimum temperature in over half a century of record keeping. 
    The Antarctic sea ice extent has gone above the 1979-2000 average. In contrast, the Arctic sea ice recorded a 
much smaller than average extent for the same period. 
    The developed world is naturally better placed to adapt and manage in such extreme weather though even the resilience of societies with better financial and technological abilities has been tested. For developing countries such as India, the lack of resources to deploy in cases of emergency is too evident. Floods in Assam are normal, but the intensity this time, with early heavy rains, has left all the districts unprepared. Paddy cultivators across the country may still have a window period to sow in time for the Kharif crop to be reasonably normal.



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