Delhi Rains: Another Warning Sign Of Climate Crisis?

by GoNews Desk 2 years ago Views 5644

Delhi Rains 12 Year High September
In April this year, the Columba Climate School at Columbia University, United States, had stated in a press release that summer monsoon will become more intense and erratic should global warming continue unchecked. The current rainfall record in Delhi is at an all time high of 12 years, and the city is clearly unprepared infrastructurally for the rains. The problems caused by excessive rains in the capital are a picture of the wider issues that are caused by erratic monsoons. Public health issues, such as the speculation on the “mystery illness” currently spreading amongst children in Uttar Pradesh, have been put down to problems like waterlogging and resultant mosquito breeding.

Delhi already faces the brunt of air pollution that intensifies seasonally in the winter due to stubble burning in surrounding states. India’s industries top the list globally in terms of pollution. And now, another effect of environmental degradation and climate change may be knocking on India’s doors.

Columbia Climate School’s press release refers to a study published in European Geosciences Union’s Earth System Dynamics, finds “a consistent increase in monsoon rainfall and its variability under global warming” in India. It states that the Indian summer monsoon is “an integral part of the global climate system” and crucial for the lives and livelihoods of almost a fifth of the world’s population, particularly agriculture with a 16.38% GDP share in the economy. Rise in global temperatures will lead to wetter monsoons in India, the study states.

Lead author Anja Katzenberger from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany (LMU) said that: “For every degree Celsius of warming, monsoon rainfalls will likely increase by about 5%”

Another study from April 2021, published in Earth-Science Reviews, studied the phenomenon of dust over the Arabian peninsula changing air pressure and causing moisture-laden winds to be swept into the northern Indian plain. While climate change has been historically initiated by countries considered “developed” today, its brunt is mostly borne by the poorer parts of the world who come into disproportionate focus for pollution due to their developmental needs.

All the same, it is imperative for governments to reduce the impact of climate change on a national level, and India has instead relaxed several environmental safeguards in pursuit of “ease of doing business”.

Climate change is also making weather patterns more erratic. It is often observed that the capital region awaits rains while the rest of the country receives it. Delhi recorded a rainfall deficiency of 38% in 2019 when India as a whole received 10% excess rainfall. In 2018 and 2017, Delhi recorded excess rainfall of 770.6 mm and 672.3 mm respectively.

In March this year, the Minister of Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan told Rajya Sabha that his Ministry had prepared a report titled “Assessment of climate change over the Indian region”. In his reply, he wrote: “the report documents the surface air temperature over India has risen by about 0.7 °C during 1901–2018 which is accompanied with an increase in atmospheric moisture content. The sea surface temperatures in the tropical Indian Ocean have also increased by about 1 °C during 1951–2015. Clear signatures of human-induced changes in climate have emerged over the Indian region on account of anthropogenic GHG and aerosol forcing, and changes in land use and land cover which have contributed to an increase in the climatic extremes.”

The climatic extremes include intense and erratic rainfall patterns which not only affect agriculture and urban sanitation but also lead to increase power consumption and further arming due to the delayed relief from the summer heat. The inconvenience and problems caused by monsoons in Delhi should be an alarm bell for the urgent changes required to turn the situation around.



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