Out cold: Temperatures in Texas ranged from -2 to -22 degrees Celsius because of a rare deep freeze that originated in the Arctic | Photo: Financial Express

Rare deep freeze leaves millions without power in southern, central US

The icy storm that froze southern and central US last week is being linked to global warming. Previous research suggested that Arctic warming is weakening the jet stream – which prevents frigid polar vortex in the northern hemisphere. This is allowing cold air to escape to the south. The plunging temperatures seen in usually frost-free regions of Texas, Gulf of Mexico and southern Louisiana. 

Texas, especially, battled extreme cold that it hadn’t seen in decades. The state reported major power outages and flight cancellations, with authorities urging residents to stay put in their homes and reduce their power consumption. The massive power outage in the state, attributed largely to the national gas-powered grid in Texas being isolated from the larger regional grid, has prompted the US energy regulator to undertake fresh evaluations of the threat posed by climate change to the country’s power reliability.

Flash droughts likely to increase in India towards end of century: Study

India, which is already grappling with poor management of extreme weather events, will see more flash droughts towards the end of the century, a new study revealed. This will threaten not only the country’s agricultural sector, but also its ecosystems and water availability, the study, by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar, stated. Greenhouse gas emissions coupled with extreme hot and dry periods during the monsoon season will increase the frequency of the flash droughts 7-8 fold, according to the report.

Globally, GHGs from material production shot up 120% between 1995 and 2015: Study

A new study found that between 1995 and 2015, the greenhouse gases emitted by the production of materials, such as iron and steel, cement, chemicals and petrochemicals, aluminium, and pulp and paper, increased by 120%. This rise was directly proportional to the rise in material production, which rose from 15% to 23% in that period, the study found, with China accounting for nearly 75% of the growth. The study attributed two-fifths of the carbon footprint from first use of the materials to construction, two-fifths to the manufacturing of machinery, vehicles and other durable products.

Magnetic pole reversal 42,000 years ago led to environmental crises, major shifts in atmosphere, extinction events: Study

Around 42,000 years ago, Earth witnessed its last major magnetic inversion called the Laschamps Excursion. Very little was known about the global impact of this event, if any, until now. A new study attempted to create a detailed record of atmospheric radiocarbon levels across the Laschamps Excursion using ancient New Zealand kauri trees. The study found the event caused substantial changes in atmospheric ozone concentration and circulation, the environment, and also led to extinction events and transformations.

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