There have been several heat spells in East, Northwest, and Peninsular India in April and May.

2024 the most intense and longest heatwave year: India’s weather office (IMD)

The year 2024 is set to be the most intense with the highest number of heatwaves in the past 15 years, the Indian Express reportedBuxar in Bihar recorded 47.2°C, the highest in the country on Thursday, which was 8.9 degrees above the normal maximum temperature for the season.

Severe heatwave conditions continue to bake Northwest and East India. The weather office (IMD) predicted gradual rise in maximum temperatures by 2-3°C in Northwest and Central India last week. There have been several heat spells in East, Northwest, and Peninsular India in April and May, HT reported. 

IMD director general M Mohapatra said a fresh spell of heatwaves is expected mainly due to an anticyclone, which is causing subsidence of hot air over northwest India. Maximum temperatures were in the range of 42-45°C in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, North Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, and Gujarat. These are above normal by 2-4°C. On Sunday, Prayagraj recorded the highest maximum temperature of 45.9°C.

At least eight people have died of suspected sun stroke in Odisha, with the national weather department predicting more hot weather in parts of the state. Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to review the measures to deal with heatwave conditions and forest fires, caused by an intense dry spell in the hills. IAF helicopters are carrying out the Bambi Bucket operation to extinguish forest fires in Uttarakhand.

Extreme floods hit Florida: Emergency declared, India-Canada T20 match abandoned, courts shut but govt denies climate change

Extreme rain (380mm (15in in 2 days) in southern Florida has led Governor Ron DeSantis, declare  a state of emergency while the mayors of Miami-Dade, Miami and Fort Lauderdale also declared a state of emergency. Schools, courts were shut and at least 40 rescues were carried out. Rail routes across Miami were suspended. In North Miami, over 500mm fell a over a short space of time, the Guardian reported. 

The T20 World Cup’s Florida-based matches were also hit by bad weather: India’s game with Canada was abandoned. All three matches scheduled for Lauderhill have fallen to the elements, reported the BBC.

DeSantis pushed back against attributions to climate change. The storm arrived a month after DeSantis signed a bill that removes most references to climate change in state law. The legislation, which is set to take effect July 1, eliminates climate change as a priority in making energy policy decisions, even though Florida routinely faces threats from extreme heat, deadly hurricanes and toxic algae blooms, Washington Post reported.

DeSantis has pledged to focus on energy affordability rather than climate change. The law he signed in May bans offshore wind turbines and weakens regulations on natural gas pipelines.

Monsoon hiatus: 53% deficient rain in northwest India

MET department said after normal progress, the monsoon is going into hiatus mode. Not much progress is expected next 8-10 days, thus delaying onset over north India. The weather office extended range forecast for the next two weeks, said the cumulative monsoon rains received across the country for the first 12 days of this season was 4% less than the normal, with northwest India remaining parched with 53% deficient rains. This cause extreme temps & heat waves over north India, including Delhi, UP and Bihar.

Monsoon arrived early in Mumbai. Waterlogging was reported from low-lying areas. In a span of a few hours, Worli, Dadar, Vikhroli, Powai and Ghatkopar, received over 100mm of rainfall, while parts of western suburbs, including Bandra and Santacruz, recorded over 80mm late Sunday.

However, the seven lakes that cater to Mumbai did not receive much rain and their total stock was 84,155 million litres, or 5.8% of the required quantum, Monday morning— compared to 10.3% on the same date last year and 14% in 2022, reported TOI. 

80% chance that 1.5°C goal of Paris Agreement may be breached over next 5 years, warns WMO

The Geneva-based World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update warned there is an 80% chance that the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal will be breached during at least one (annual average) of the next five years. There is also an 86% likelihood that at least one of these years will set a new temperature record, beating 2023, which is currently the warmest year.

HT reported that breaching the 1.5°C threshold for a year is not equivalent to failing the Paris Agreement. The warning came even as Baku in Azerbaijan — on the coast of the Caspian Sea and a major producer of crude oil and natural gas — is preparing to host thousands of delegates from all over the world this November for the 29th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP29). The agenda of the UN climate meeting (COP29) at Baku is to negotiate a new financial goal to be set from the floor of USD 100 billion for the post-2025 period. This is expected to help developing countries transition to a low-carbon future.

Algorithm identifies landslide movements making them easier to predict

Indian researchers created an algorithm that provides a 80-94% accuracy in identifying landslide movement, reported Mongabay. The algorithm does not predict landslides, but it gives necessary information to those who are in the business of predicting landslides, like what caused the landslide and what the mechanisms were.

Current predictive models categorise different subtypes of landslides into a single group. This new method creates a comprehensive algorithm that tailors a mitigation approach based on the subtype to reduce uncertainty and bias.

 One statistic estimates that between 2010 and 2021, at least 3,710 people in India lost their lives to landslides, while tens of thousands of people were impacted in other ways.

Kamal Rana, a Ph.D. student at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).and Kushanav Bhuyan, a Ph.D. researcher from the University of Padova’s Machine Intelligence and Slope Stability Laboratory, along with a team of researchers, have created an algorithm that offers 80-94% accuracy in identifying landslide movements around the world.

This study introduces a new method of examining slides, flows, and fails, which are the different manners in which landslides occur, as well as finding distinct patterns of landslides that were previously unidentifiable.

Climate change made historic Brazil floods twice as likely: Study

Climate change doubled the chances of the historic floods in southern Brazil and scaled up intense rains caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, according to a study by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group, reported Carbon Copy. The group concluded that three months’ worth of rain was dumped on the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul over two weeks in an “extremely rare event, expected to occur only once every 100-250 years”. The record-breaking disaster killed at least 169 people, as well as destroying homes and harvests.

Less than 4% of dryland areas are projected to desertify despite increased aridity under climate change

A new study found that less than 4% of the Earth’s drylands will turn to desert by mid-century, despite increasing dryness in those areas. Using observational data and climate models, researchers calculate the aridity index and project changes in vegetation. They find that despite increasing aridity, “most of the global drylands are projected to see an increase in vegetation productivity due to climate change through 2050”, which they attribute to the CO2 fertilisation effect. The regions for which they project desertification “include parts of north-east Brazil, Namibia, western Sahel, Horn of Africa and central Asia”

Global groundwater warming due to climate change

Climate change under a medium emissions pathway could push groundwater resources for 77-188 million people above the “highest threshold for drinking water temperatures set by any country”, a new study suggested. Simulating current and projected groundwater temperatures worldwide, the researchers show that “groundwater at the depth of the water table (excluding permafrost regions) is conservatively projected to warm on average by 2.1°C between 2000 and 2100” under medium emissions. A separate article added that groundwater warming for many regions “will also alter the conditions that sensitive groundwater-dependent ecosystems currently rely on”.

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