Doppler radars help in observing the extent and intensity of rainfall and cloud formations, and monitoring thunderstorms and lightning in real time. Photo: Damien du Toit/Wikimedia Commons

IMD plans pan-India Doppler Weather Radar network by 2025

In a bid to strengthen its weather forecast system and expand its network of meteorological services, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) made an announcement to cover the entire country under a radar network by deploying 25 additional Doppler Weather Radars (DWRs) and establishing 720 District Agro Meteorological Units (DAMUs) by 2025. This move by the national weather forecaster will help in the prediction of extreme weather events more accurately and provide more precise farm-related advisories and forecasts to farmers. 

Doppler radars help in observing the extent and intensity of rainfall and cloud formations, and monitoring thunderstorms and lightning in real time. It can prove to be an important technology to avert disaster in many states that are affected by floods, heavy rains, lightning and thunderstorms. The IMD has also decided to increase agro-meteorological service facilities from 3,100 blocks in 2023 to 7,000 blocks in 2025 and bring Delhi, Kolkata, and Guwahati under its urban flood warning system in the near future.

The announcement was made by Union minister of earth sciences Jitendra Singh and IMD chief M Mohapatra at an event to celebrate the 148th foundation day of the Met department.

Study reveals India saw extreme weather on 314 days of 2022

In 2022, India experienced extreme weather events on 314 out of 365 days. These occurrences cumulatively claimed 3,026 human lives, affected at least 1.96 million hectares (ha) crop area, destroyed 423,249 houses and killed over 69,899 animals. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the year was also the fifth warmest for the country.

Heavy rains, floods and landslides were the most recurring extreme weather event type (reported on 214 days in the year), followed by lightning and storms (185 days), heatwaves (66 days), coldwave / cold days (46 days), cloudbursts (11 days), snowfall (4 days) and cyclones (3 days). 

The Northwest region, which has 10 of the 36 states/UTs, experienced extreme weather events on 237 days in 2022. This was followed by the Central region, which saw 218 extreme weather event days. East and Northeast regions reported extreme weather events on 196 days, and the South Peninsula reported the lowest 170 days with extreme weather events.

Of the 3,026 human deaths due to extreme weather events, the Central region recorded the most deaths (939), followed by the Northwest region (878 deaths), the East and Northeast region (810 deaths) and the South Peninsula (400 deaths). Of the almost 2 million ha affected crop area, the South Peninsula accounted for the lion’s share (1.2 million ha), followed by the Northwest region (0.3 million ha), East and Northeast region (0.3 million ha) and the Central region (0.2 million ha). 

El Niño return could see unprecedented heatwaves in 2023

Scientists are predicting that the return of the El Niño climate phenomenon later in 2023 will cause record-high global temperature rise and unprecedented heatwaves. Early forecasts suggest that El Niño’s return will likely lead to the world exceeding 1.5C of warming and the year will be hotter than 2022, which global datasets rank as the fifth or sixth hottest year on record. 

The El Niño-La Niña phenomenon is the biggest cause of year-to-year differences in weather in many regions. In La Niña years, the east-to-west Pacific trade winds are stronger, pushing warm surface waters to the west and drawing up deeper, cooler water in the east. El Niño events happen when the trade winds wane, allowing the warm waters to spread back eastwards, smothering the cooler waters and leading to a rise in global temperatures.

The greenhouse gases emitted globally have already driven up the average global temperature by about 1.2C to date. This has already led to catastrophic impacts around the world, from searing heatwaves in the US and Europe to devastating floods in Pakistan and Nigeria, harming millions of people.

Investigation finds commonly used rainforest carbon offset credits to be worthless

A new investigation into Verra, the world’s leading carbon standard for the rapidly growing $2bn (£1.6bn) voluntary offsets market, has found that more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits – among the most commonly used by companies – are likely to be “phantom credits” and do not represent genuine carbon reductions. The analysis raises questions over the credits bought by Disney, Shell, Gucci, easyJet and other big corporations as some of them have labelled their products “carbon neutral”, or have told their consumers they can fly, buy new clothes or eat certain foods without making the climate crisis worse.

The investigation found that only a handful of Verra’s rainforest projects showed evidence of deforestation reductions, according to two studies, with further analysis indicating that 94% of the credits had no benefit to the climate. The threat to forests had been overstated by about 400% on average for Verra projects, according to an analysis of a 2022 University of Cambridge study. 

The findings – which have been strongly disputed by Verra – are likely to pose serious questions for companies that are depending on offsets as part of their net-zero strategies.

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