Bracing for impact: Better computing power would allow IMD to identify the formation of cyclones. Photo: PTI

India to strengthen cyclone warning systems with new radars, supercomputers

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will be investing in new supercomputers, high-resolution radar systems and automated weather observatories to improve cyclone forecasting systems over the next five years. The weather service will deploy 62 radars, up from 37, and triple the speed of its supercomputers to 30 petaflops from 10, to enable quicker processing of weather-related data. Better computing power would allow IMD to identify the formation of cyclones, and the accuracy of critical elements such as landfall, wind speed, inundation and storm surge.

Heatwave deaths across India on the rise, UP’s Ballia the worst hit

An intense heat wave across Uttar Pradesh has led to a number of deaths in Ballia. With temperatures soaring to nearly 45°C, between June 15 and 20, a total of 80 people admitted to the district’s only hospital have died. While most of the admitted patients had fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, high blood pressure and other symptoms of heat wave-borne diseases, the excessive heat appeared to have exacerbated the condition of those with comorbidities as well. Meanwhile, data from Deoria Medical College, UP, revealed that between June 1 and June 18, 133 people were brought dead to the hospital. As per a report, 14 people lost their lives in Jharkhand between June 17 and 18. In Bihar, local media reported that more than 40 people had died due to heat since May 31, but state officials denied this.

India records 10% deficit rainfall in June

June ended with a 10% rainfall deficit of the Long Period Average (LPA). India recorded a cumulative rainfall of 148.6 mm against the normal average of 165.3 mm between June 1-30. The northwest was the only region to record excess rainfall. South India recorded the highest rainfall deficit followed by the east, northeast and Central India. The IMD had predicted below normal rainfall over most parts of the country.

Flood situation in Assam improves slightly

The flood situation in Assam improved this week, but 4 more people lost their lives, taking the overall toll across the state to 11. Around 38,000 people still remain affected by the deluge in four districts, according to officials. Around 780 villages were submerged and 10,591.85 hectares of crop areas were damaged by the floods across the state.

Hindu Kush Himalayas may lose 80% of its glacier by mid-century: Study

A new report by ICIMOD found that global temperature rise has led to unprecedented and largely irreversible changes to the Hindu Kush Himalayan cryosphere, accelerating species extinction and posing a huge risk to two billion people in Asia. Even if the global temperature rise is maintained at 1.5°C, on current emissions pathways, 80% of glaciers’ current volume will be gone by 2100. Floods and landslides are likely to increase and the availability of water is expected to peak in mid-century. Rivers in eastern and northeastern India including the Brahmaputra, Ganga and Teesta will see a rapid increase in stream flow followed by water scarcity.

Beyond borders: Why India and Pakistan should have come together to fight Cyclone Biparjoy

South Asia’s environmental challenges present ample opportunities for neighbouring countries to come together. There is a formal arrangement to share data, where IMD acts as a regional specialised centre for tropical cyclones and provides advisories in and along 13 Bay of Bengal countries, one of which is Pakistan. In the absence of meaningful engagement on extreme weather events and climate disasters, vulnerable communities on both sides continue to suffer, the latest climate disaster being Cyclone Biparjoy. The need for the two South Asian nations to engage closely in the face of shared threats is clearer than ever. The first cyclonic storm over the Arabian Sea this year, Biparjoy originated over the southeast Arabian Sea on June 6 and had landfall over Saurashtra and Kutch on June 15 before weakening into a depression on June 18. It left a trail of destruction in the affected region and more than 180,000 people took shelter in the two countries. 

Groundwater extraction tilted Earth’s spin resulting in sea level rise

A new study found that groundwater pumping tilted the planet nearly 80 cm east between 1993 and 2010 alone. Scientists had predicted that between 1993 and 2010, people pumped 2,150 gigatonnes of groundwater, or more than 6 mm (0.24 inches), of sea level increase. Among climate-related causes, the redistribution of groundwater actually has the largest impact on the drift of the rotational pole. Water’s role in altering the Earth’s rotation was discovered in 2016, and until now, the contribution of groundwater to drifts has been unexplored.

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