In deep water: Storage levels in 140 major reservoirs have fallen to 39% of their cumulative capacity as of April 21, 2022 | Photo: Down To Earth

140 major reservoirs in India record dip amidst intense heatwave, deficient pre-monsoon rain

The intense heatwave that has gripped India coupled with deficient pre-monsoon rainfall has led to a significant dip in the country’s major reservoirs. According to data released by the Central Water Commission (CWC), storage levels in 140 major reservoirs as of April 21, 2022 have fallen to 39% of their cumulative capacity compared to 50% on March 17, 2022. This translates into a dip of about 2-3% per week.   

According to data released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), pre-monsoon rainfall as of April 19 fell in the ‘large deficient’ category. The data revealed the subdivisions of East Uttar Pradesh and Saurashtra and Kutch have had no rainfall since March 1, Madhya Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh had normal rainfall, and only eight subdivisions recorded ‘large excess’ rainfall. 

Torrential rain, flooding kills 450 in South Africa

Relentless rain and floods in South Africa killed around 450 people and rendered thousands homeless this month. The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, linked the storm, which delivered an entire year’s worth of rainfall in 48 hours, to climate change. The region has already been hit by multiple tropical storms and cyclones since the beginning of the year. 

According to experts, the enormous death toll of 450 people was a result of the lack of infrastructure, a communication breakdown and an abundance of informal settlements. Even though the South African Weather Service forecast the flooding a day in advance, no red alert was issued. The event highlighted the issue of climate justice as well. According to Debra Roberts, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate impacts, the poor had been hit the hardest by the weather event.  

Study links rising heat to longer, more intense seasonal allergies

Warmer temperatures have increased the duration of the spring season causing flowers to bloom earlier, according to a study published in the journal Nature. The pollen season, therefore, now begins 10-40 days earlier and ends 5-15 days later, the study stated. This has resulted in a longer and more intense allergy season for those affected, according to the researchers. The increase in atmospheric CO2 is pushing up pollen production. This means seasonal allergies are only likely to increase in the coming years.