Flood fury: Assam and Meghalaya faced the brunt of heavy pre-monsoon showers, flooding from which has affected more than 7 lakh people in over 30 districts | Photo: OnManorama

Mercury touches 49°C in north India, north east, south hit by heavy pre-monsoon showers, furious flooding in Assam

India has been reporting an intense heatwave these past few weeks. Temperature levels touched 49°C and above in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. According to the weather office, maximum temperatures at several locations in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and Bihar, among others, were markedly above normal (5.1°C or more). In Gujarat, there were reports of birds falling from the sky out of dehydration and exhaustion. 

In the northeast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red alert after heavy rain in Assam and Meghalaya caused floods and landslides, affecting at least 7.2 lakh people and killing 24 people, as reported at the time of dispatch.

Parts of India’s southern peninsula, however, reported heavy rainfall. Kerala issued a red alert for five of its districts. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted an early monsoon over the state by May 27. Senior scientists at IMD said this could be because of the recent cyclones Asani and Karim. These cyclones are likely to counter the effects of global warming, which has, in the recent past, delayed the onset of monsoon in India, experts said.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, asked states to prepare heat action plans and asked authorities to update flood preparedness plans ahead of the monsoon season.

Half of every dollar spent on tree plantation programmes in Himachal is wasted: Analysis

At least half of every dollar that goes into tree plantation programmes is wasted, according to a tree planting analysis conducted in Himachal Pradesh. The analysis highlighted gaps in India’s implementation and design of forest restoration programmes. This analysis is, therefore, important because India plans to achieve its climate goals through forest restoration. According to the analysts, the forest department in Himachal Pradesh is unable to locate favourable locations for tree planting. 

Earth’s CO2 levels hit record levels 

Monthly average CO2 levels have reached record levels–420 parts per million (ppm). The new levels were recorded at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory. Scientists have previously appealed for CO2 levels to be brought down to below 350 ppm in order to tackle the climate crisis effectively. Last year, the highest level was 419.13 ppm, which was recorded in May. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which released the data, global CO2 levels are increasing about 100 times faster than other periods in history.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) also released its State of Global Climate in 2021 last week. The report confirmed that the last seven years have been the warmest on record. Worryingly, the report underscores that four key indicators of climate change- greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification – all set new records in 2021. This trend of record-setting, the report states, is further proof of anthropogenic climate change.