The New Year began with photographs and videos of blood red skies because of deadly bushfires in southeast Australia flooding news channels and the Internet. Currently, there are 146 fires raging across the state of New South Wales, 65 of which remain uncontained. Nearly 5 million hectares of land has been lost to the fires. The fires, in fact, are so hot that they have created their own thunderstorms and lightning, much like a volcanic eruption or an atomic bomb blast.
What’s most heart breaking, however, is that some reports have suggested that over a half a billion helpless mammals, birds and reptiles have died in the bushfires. Scientists have warned that it is time we take into account the role played by climate change in exacerbating weather events, such as the bushfires, which have been hard to contain because of frequent heatwaves and drought, making Australia a ‘tinderbox’.
53 killed in Jakarta flash floods; country uses cloud seeding to halt torrential rain
Flash floods caught Indonesia’s Capital, Jakarta, unawares on the first day of the New Year after torrential rain the night before. According to reports, at least 53 people have been killed and 1,75,000 have been evacuated so far.
The country claimed to have carried out cloud seeding to prevent further rainfall. This method, which involves shooting salt flares into rain clouds in an attempt to trigger rainfall and breaking up clouds before they reach the flood-hit spot. At least three rounds of cloud seeding have been conducted with more in the offing as and when required, authorities said.
Delhi breaks its 119-year-record for coldest Dec day as coldwave grips north India
A cold wave gripped western and northern India in the last week of 2019. On December 30, India’s Capital Delhi broke its 119-year-record of the most coldest day in December – a maximum temperature of 9.4°C and a minimum temperature of 2.6°C. In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the cold wave killed at least 28 people. While deaths have been reported across north Indian states, there is no official confirmation of the numbers
Scientists have blamed a ‘robust spell’ of Western Disturbances – they are extratropical storms originating in the Mediterranean region that bring sudden winter rain to the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent – for the coldwave. The New Year did, however, bring some relief to the regions as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted warmer days in the coming week.
Study finds climate change markers in daily weather
Can climate change be detected in daily weather? Traditionally, scientists believe weather is what we experience in the short term but climate gives us more of the bigger picture. But a new study believes that climate change markers can be picked up from daily weather records. The study, which was partly an attempt to disprove US President Donald Trump’s tweets about how a cold day in one location disproves global warming, evaluated how daily temperatures and humidity differ in different parts of the world.
According to the study’s co-author Reto Knutti of ETH Zurich, climate change cannot be detected in daily local weather. The global mean temperature on a single day, however, has shifted, he says, making the human fingerprint on climate change more than visible.
It takes less than 2 weeks for the average Brit to emit as much CO2 as Africans emit in a year: Oxfam
A new study published by Oxfam threw light on the massive disparity between carbon footprints in the developed and developing worlds. According to the study, the average British person would have emitted more CO2 in just the first two weeks of this year than a citizen of any one of seven African countries emits in a year. The study states that by January 12, the average Briton’s emissions will have overtaken the annual per capita emissions of a further six African countries: Madagascar, Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Guinea and Burkina Faso. It further reveals that annual emissions of carbon dioxide, per head of population, is 0.09 tonnes in Rwanda, 0.19 in Malawi and 0.25 in Burkina Faso. Further up the scale, it was found that Nigeria emits 0.49 tonnes of carbon per person every year, while in India the figure is 1.68. These figures compare with a global average of 4.7 tonnes per person per year. In Britain, the figure is 8.3.