From Down to Earth: India’s vicious cycle of crippling drought and then devastating floods, which happens every year, is getting a new normal. First, floods and droughts come together. Secondly, rainfall is not only variable but also extreme. There’s only one answer: obsessive attention to building millions and millions of connected and living water structures.
From The Third Pole: For the third year in a row, India’s monsoon season has produced floods in the northwest/northeast, while south India has a rainfall deficit. The key question right now is whether we’re headed towards increased monsoon extremes, or whether global warming is causing shifts in the duration, intensity and frequency of rainfall.
Here are the key findings from Centre for Science and Environment’s study of how India has warmed over the years, also plotted in animation. The analysis looks at temperature trends in the country –both annual and seasonal– from 1901 till recent years. It finds that the country has been getting warmer continuously, consistently and rapidly.
Common Dreams reports: For the third year in a row, the world experienced its warmest year ever recorded. In 2016, a total of 22 nations set all-time records for their hottest ever temperatures. This breaks the record of eighteen all-time heat records in 2010 for the greatest number of such records set in one year.
Eric Holthaus writes: The latest comic from xkcd, the internet’s most famous science-focused webcomic, zips through 22,000 years of Earth’s climate history, juxtaposed with key moments in the history of civilization. Seeing it, you’ll probably come to an inescapable conclusion: Nothing like this has ever happened, and it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
The Guardian reports: India recorded its hottest day ever on 19 May, with the temperature in Rajasthan’s Phalodi rising to 51C. But it’s only one among many climate records broken this year. From soaring temperatures in Alaska and India to Arctic sea ice melting and CO2 concentrations rising, 2016 is smashing records around the world.
Chris Mooney reports: In a new study published in Nature, scientists say they have for the first time thoroughly documented one of the most profound planetary changes yet to be caused by a warming climate: The distribution of clouds all across the Earth has shifted, in such a way as to make global warming worse.
Dana Nuccitelli reports in The Guardian: 2014 and 2015 each set the record for hottest calendar year since we began measuring surface temperatures over 150 years ago, and 2016 is almost certain to break the record once again. It will be without precedent: the first time that we have seen three consecutive record-breaking hot years.
This year is the hottest in history: every single month in 2016 so far has set a heat record. Slow, linear change is giving way to non-linear lurches. Extend the present temperature trend for another few months and we may go beyond the threshold of 1.5 degrees. How long until we get to two degrees? Three?
India has an extreme air pollution problem, which kills up to 400,000 people every year. This pollution, made up of fine particles called aerosols, also has the effect of cooling the local climate by reflecting or absorbing sunlight before it reaches the ground. It is feasible that India’s pollution problem has been “hiding” extreme heat spikes.
With the drought scorching the world and the rest of India refusing to let up, Agumbe in Shimoga district of Karnataka, known as the ‘Cherrapunji of the the South’ for the abundant rainfall it receives, is experiencing water scarcity this year. In nearby Kerala, perennial rivers like the Pamba and Kabini have gone dry, affecting thousands.
Over 54 crore people across 13 States are in the grip of drought, and it is a multi-dimensional crisis. Highlighting this at a national consultation in Delhi, Yogendra Yadav said that owing to the drought, people were battling for drinking water and food, domestic cattle were dying a nomadic death and farms had turned fallow.
Sunitha Natti reports: A New Indian Express analysis shows we are witnessing four back-to-back droughts for the first time in at least 100 years and are coursing through another as we speak. At least two of them were severe. Analysis of rainfall data across states for the past three decades threw up some startling findings.
The Indian Express reports: The Global Integrated Drought Monitoring and Prediction System (GIDMaPS) map shows large patches of dry areas in every continent, indicating droughts of varying severity. The GIDMaPS is a drought monitoring and prediction system that provides near real-time drought information based on multiple drought indicators and input data sets, mostly from NASA.
Sayantan Bera reports: Data from the ministry of water resources show that in end March, water levels in 91 major reservoirs in the country was at just 25% of capacity—30% lower than last year, and 25% less than the average storage in a decade. The situation is acute in the western parts of the country.
Harish Damodaran writes: In the past, droughts invariably fuelled speculation and hoarding by unscrupulous traders. But this time, Indians in the cities are hardly feeling the pinch. Barring sugar, consumers aren’t paying all that much more compared to a year ago. Simply put, this time it is a drought essentially of farmers and rural producers.
Roz Pidcock reports: Working out whether human activity is supercharging extreme events like floods, droughts and heatwaves, is one of the youngest branches of climate science. But it’s moving at breakneck pace. So much so, that the US National Academy of Sciences has fast-tracked a report taking stock of the science and where it’s heading.
Nihar Gokhale reports: Rainfall across India in March has been 300-500% higher and often were accompanied by hailstorms. As a result, winter crops across six Indian states – Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra – stand destroyed. Rain and the accompanying hail has damaged upto 60% standing winter crops across the country.
Sukumar Muralidharan reports on Catch News: This year’s economic survey is a catalogue of crises. For one thing, it records that the situation in agriculture has been dismal on account of two successive years of poor monsoons. This is only the fourth time in 115 years that such a misfortune has hit the Indian economy.
SkyMet founder Jatin Singh says: When SkyMet had said there was an El Nino and the 2014 monsoon won’t be good, the reaction of the then person in charge of IMD was that El Nino was a western conspiracy to play with our devices. But the IMD’s forecast after 2014 became very El Nino based.