The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had initially predicted the arrival of monsoon in Kerala by June 4 with an error margin of +/- 4 days. While the monsoon declared as having arrived to the Indian mainland on June 8, progress has been sketchy.
The westerly wind patterns made onset conditions conducive but cyclone Biparjoy, which has intensified over the Arabian Sea in the past week has hindered effective progress. The weak start to the monsoon has left around 80% of the districts in India with deficient or no rain in the first two weeks of the conventional monsoon period. Although the IMD has stuck with its “normal monsoon” forecast following the sluggish start, private forecaster Skymet Weather has cautioned that the monsoon is likely to remain weak over the next month.
The cyclone Biparjoy, which was originally expected to travel northwestwards towards Yemen and Oman, surprised observers by moving north-northeastwards, along India’s west coast. The cyclone, only the third in the last 60 years to hit India’s west coast, now lies close off the coast of Gujarat and is expected to hit on Thursday. With high wind speeds and lashing rains, the state is currently bracing for impact, with 37,000 people reportedly evacuated.
Southeast Asia swelters under relentless heat, power grids & water supply at risk
The record heat in Southeast Asia has led to disruptions in the crucial Hindu Kush-Himalayan water system. This new development poses a risk to economic development and energy security in 16 Asian countries. Home to 1.9 billion people, the basins of the 10 major rivers that flow from the Hindu Kush-Himalayan water towers support almost three-quarters of hydropower and 44% of coal-fired power in the 16 countries, which also include Afghanistan, Nepal and Southeast Asia. The heatwaves are expected to persist through June, putting power grids under strain, too. On May 29, Shanghai, China, endured its hottest day in May in 100 years at 36.7°C. Demand for electricity has surged in recent days, with China Southern Power Grid, one of the country’s two grid operators, seeing peak power load exceeding 200 million kilowatts.
Resilience of Earth system compromised, failing in seven out of eight key measures
A new study by the Earth Commission group of scientists has found that our planet, going forward, will face a growing crisis of water availability, nutrient loading, ecosystem maintenance and aerosol pollution. Climate change has pushed the world into the danger zone in seven out of eight newly demarcated indicators of planetary safety and justice. According to one of the lead authors, the earth is approaching tipping points, and we are getting to see increasing permanent damage to life-support systems on a global scale. For instance, a safe and just climate target is 1°C, but we have already adopted a target to keep global warming between 1.5-2°C above pre-industrial levels.
WMO approves global tracker for greenhouse gas emissions
In a landmark decision, the World Meteorological Congress approved a new greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring initiative. The Global Greenhouse Gas Watch will fill critical information gaps and provide an integrated, operational framework to reduce heat-trapping gases that are fuelling temperature increases. In a press statement, the WMO said that it recognises, “the growing societal importance of greenhouse gas monitoring in support of improving our scientific understanding of the Earth System, and the urgent need to strengthen the scientific underpinning of mitigation actions taken by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.”