The Batagaika crater in the Sakha Republic, Russia is thawing and expanding at an alarming rate. Scientists believe that with increasing temperatures and higher anthropogenic pressure, the world will witness more of those mega-slumps until all the permafrost is gone. The 100 metres deep crater (328 feet) began to form after the surrounding forest was cleared in the 1960s and the permafrost underground began to melt, causing the land to sink. In the 1970s, the ‘cave-in’ as the locals call it, developed first as a ravine and eventually started to expand by thawing during warmer days. Thawing permafrost has already led to the buckling of roadways, the splitting apart of houses, and the disruption of pipelines across cities and towns in northern and northeastern Russia. Further thawing will result in more release of carbon dioxide, methane, and greenhouse gases, fuelling global warming.
Overflowing river systems a concern as heavy rains wreak havoc across India
Several parts of Delhi-NCR were inundated after the Yamuna river crossed its evacuation mark on July 11, 2023. The last time the Capital witnessed such record-breaking floods was in 1978 when the highest water level the Yamuna reached in Delhi was 207.49 metres. This year, the water level went up to 208.66 metres and crossed the previous surge record by 1.17 metres. The flooding happened despite the water released from Haryana’s Hathnikund barrage being less than in previous flood years. It is believed that the flooding was human-induced and completely avoidable. The devastating floods, landslides, and mudslides in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are also a result of the climate crisis, active geology of the region, and infrastructure projects. River basins originating in the Western Himalayas are predominantly fed by snow and glacial melt with rainfall largely coming from wintertime western disturbances but with the rise in extreme rainfall events and various man-made obstructions such as construction and the dumping of debris, the behaviour of Himalayan rivers have become unpredictable. The Ghaggar, Tangri, and Markanda too have reclaimed their floodplains this monsoon causing heavy damage. The Ghaggar has affected six districts of Haryana (Panchkula, Ambala, Kaithal, Fatehabad and Sirsa), four districts of Punjab (Mohali, Patiala, Sangrur and Mansa) and two districts of Rajasthan (Hanumangarh and Sriganganagar). Heavy rains in the upper reaches of Chamba and Kangra districts, the source of the Ravi river, have resulted in flooding of several downstream areas. Very heavy rainfall caused a flood-like situation in Gujarat’s Junagadh district, Ahmedabad, and several other parts of the state.
Red alert: Europe braces for extreme heat, temperatures to soar up to 49°C
An unrelenting second heatwave stretching across southern Europe is expected to push temperatures close to a record after the “Cerberus” heatwave ravaged parts of Europe early this month. “Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland are all facing a major heatwave with air temperatures expected to climb to 49 degrees Celsius on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia – potentially the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe,” the European Space Agency said in a statement. The new heatwave named “Charon,” is set to hit Italy soon and policymakers have issued a hot weather red alert for 16 cities nationwide. Spain’s state weather agency has warned of extreme danger, with temperatures expected to reach 44 degrees Celsius in areas such as Mallorca, Aragon and Catalonia. Poland has also been hit by the heatwave and is in the midst of a drought with temperatures in Warsaw 13 degrees Celsius higher than average. Meanwhile, wildfires have been tearing through France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Malta, and Switzerland.
US faces deadly flash floods in the northeast, extreme heatwaves in the south and west
Heavy downpours have led to deadly flash floods in Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania and possible flash floods have been forecast in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. In addition, an extreme heatwave in the western US has sent temperatures soaring to 53 degrees Celsius in the California desert. Temperatures of over 46 degrees Celsius are forecast for areas of southern California’s high desert, along with Arizona and Nevada, and over 100 million people in the Southern US are under heat alerts. Parts of Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico tied their all-time high, with Phoenix recording the highest-ever night time temperature at 32.2 degrees Celsius.
With global temperature rise, countries will have higher cooling needs
A recent study has found that with global mean temperature moving from 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius, African countries will have the highest increase in cooling requirements. Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Norway, including parts of the Andes and the Himalayas, will suffer the largest relative cooling demand surges. Rising extreme heat is already driving an unprecedented surge in cooling demand, with the energy required for cooling by 2050 predicted to be equivalent to the combined electricity capacity of the United States, European Union and Japan in 2016.
World’s oceans are changing colours due to climate change
A study has found that more than half the world’s ocean area is becoming greener with human-induced climate change. While the exact reason for this greening is unknown, it is believed that changing amounts of plankton or other organic material in the water might be a possibility. There are plenty of other ways global warming is affecting the world’s oceans, by changing the structure and flow of certain currents, for instance. These kinds of changes can affect the growth of phytoplankton and other factors that might be contributing to greening.