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Mounting toll: Monsoon fury returned to India with flooding reported from several states, over 1400 people have died and more than 10 million have been affected by flooding this year according to the MHA | Photo: thefederal.com

Death toll due to floods has crossed 1400 this year, says MHA as North India faces fury

Heavy rains lashed several north Indian states this past week. While parts of Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh experienced debilitating floods, MP was hit the worst where preliminary assessments estimate that 220 lives were lost and damage worth Rs10,000 crore was incurred during the floods. Central teams are currently reviewing the situation in MP and other affected states. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 1,400 people have died so far this year due to floods and over 10 million have been affected.

India lost 31% of its grassland in 10 years

India lost 31% (5.65 million hectares) of grassland between 2005 and 2015, according to data presented by the Indian government to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) during the ongoing 14th Conference of Parties (COP). The number has fallen from 18 mha to 12.3 mha, the government informed. Worst hit was the Aravalli range in Rajasthan followed by other states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, the report stated.

The main factors for the decline, as per the report, were direct and indirect. Direct factors included overgrazing, poor management and deforestation, while the indirect factors were conversion of pastures into cropland through encroachment and diversion and allotment driven by increasing population pressure.

2019 on pace to becoming one of the most disastrous years recorded

A new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, which compiles data from governments, United Nations humanitarian agencies and media reports, has revealed that a record 7 million people were displaced from their homes in just the first half of 2019 due to extreme weather events. The number is the highest mid-year figure to be reported by the data centre in over 15 years of data compilation. Tellingly, the first six months of 2019 saw nearly twice as many people displaced by extreme weather events as people displaced by conflict and violence.

Weeks after devastating Hurricane Dorian, Bahamas escapes fury of Tropical Storm Humberto

A couple of weeks after being battered by Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamas narrowly escaped the fury of Tropical Storm Humberto this fortnight. The Category 5 Dorian destroyed much of the Grand Bahamas and the Abaco Islands and the official death toll stands at 50, but officials said the number if likely to rise as more people are identified.

Tropical activity has been average in the Atlantic basin, according to AccuWeather, which has forecasted 12-14 tropical storms, five to seven hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes this year. 

New ‘hotzones’ identified across the world

A recent analysis found several locations across the globe that have warmed by over 2°C over the past century. According to analysis, around 20% of the globe has already warmed by 1.5°C – the point at which climate change impacts are accelerated. The areas that have warmed the fastest are the Arctic, the Middle East, Europe and Northern Asia. A major chunk of Canada is at 2°C or higher. In the past 5 years, 8-11% of the globe crossed the 2°C threshold.  

Carbon capture not done enough to stall climate change

Scientists and industry officials have warned that very little difference has been achieved by capturing planet-warming gases and storing them underground, one of the main methods to stall climate change. Andrew Cavanagh, an emissions storage researcher at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh says in Europe, capacity to store CO2, captured from power plants, industries or straight from the air – is only a thousandth of what is needed. “We’re so far off trend it makes you wonder what we’re doing,” he told a conference in the English city of Oxford this week on efforts to rapidly slash emissions.
Bjorn Haugstad, head of climate, industry and technology at Norway’s energy ministry, also feels the same. He said, “We are struggling with making a good business case for CCS.”  Haugstad said,plans for carbon capture and storage (CCS) seemed both “inevitable but impossible”.

Climate change affecting the game of cricket: Report

An unlikely victim of climate change has emerged – cricket. According to a new report, heatwaves, droughts and storms because of climate change are increasing the risks to the game. While the increasing humidity and heat impacts the players and spectators, droughts are likely to affect the pitch conditions. A case in point is the erratic rainfall patterns in the UK that have washed out many matches, according to the report titled ‘Hit for six’, which was presented to the World Cricket Committee. The report recommends allowing players to wear shorts in particularly humid and hot conditions, developing protective gear that will keep players cool.

Ozone hole over Antarctica this year smallest it’s been in 30 years: Scientists

Is the ozone hole over Antarctica closing? The EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) says the hole seen over the region this year could be the smallest seen in three decades. According to the agency, the hole is also off-centre and far away from the pole.China, meanwhile, which was criticised earlier this year by a study, which found the country was responsible for nearly half of the global rise in the banned ozone-destroying refrigerant CFC-11, has said it is facing ‘new challenges’ in its fight to crackdown on the production of the chemical.