Getting worse: India received its second-lowest pre-monsoon showers this year, and Delhi and Chennai may not have any groundwater left by 2020 | Image credit: HT

Water crisis looms as India witnesses second lowest pre-monsoon rainfall since 1954

As current water levels in India’s 91 major reservoirs stand at just 20%, an estimated 21 cities, including Delhi and Chennai, are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020. There seems to be no end in sight for India’s water crisis. One reason for the plunging reservoir levels is poor pre-monsoon rain. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the country received 99mm of rainfall between March and May 2019 – 23% below the normal range, making it the second-lowest pre-monsoon rainfall in the past 65 years.

While IMD has predicted normal monsoon rainfall from June to September, a 10-day delay in its onset has stoked fears of poor rainfall among drought-prone states such as Maharashtra, which has already approved plans worth Rs30 crores for cloud seeding in August to trigger artificial rainfall over drought-affected regions.

Warming Arctic producing weather extremes around Northern Hemisphere

After years of speculation, scientists have now conclusively shown how Arctic warming is influencing and cause erratic weather around the Northern Hemisphere by changing character winds known as ‘jet streams.’ A combination of global climate models and a new machine learning algorithm on ozone chemistry shows that the jet stream’s wavelike course in winter and subsequent extreme weather conditions such as cold air outbreaks in North America and Europe are the direct result of climate change.

In India, the wavering pattern of jet streams has culminated into increasing occurrences of “western disturbances” to which extreme and unpredictable weather in the months of March to May can be attributed. A spate of thunderstorms in April and May last year and this year have been linked to the jet streams.

Future yield of top 10 food crops likely to be highly unequal globally: Study

Forecasts have long predicted that major crops around the world are likely to experience an overall decline under future climate scenarios. A new study by the University of Minnesota has now shed further light on how future yield changes in the top 10 food crops are likely to be highly unequal around the world. The impact of climate change on global food production has been found to be mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa, and Australia, generally positive in Latin America, and mixed in Asia and Northern and Central America.

Marine ecosystems have entered the Anthropocene

A study comparing compositions of fossil plankton (foraminifera) assemblages in sediments of the pre-industrial era with those of more recent times has concluded that human activity has systematically changed zooplankton communities. Over 3,700 samples from pre-industrial sediments, with samples from sediment traps that reflect the plankton status from 1978 to 2013, were analysed for the study. Planktons live near the surface waters of the oceans. When they die, their calcareous shells are deposited in the seafloor sediments. Scientists say the shifts in distribution reflect the effects of global warming.

Climate change a serious threat to human health in the next few years, scientists warn

In the coming decades, climate change will be one of the most serious threats to human health, scientists from 27 national academies from Europe said. The already harmful global heating will claim more lives as the frequency of extreme weather events (heat waves and floods) increase, but in the long term, climate change will lead to mental disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, substance abuse and depression, researchers warned.

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