Several parts of India, over the past few years have been at the receiving end of extreme weather events.
The recent excessive rainfall in Kerala and Kodagu (Karnataka) is testimony to this increasing threat that looms large over us.
While most dismiss them as natures fury, experts feel otherwise and attribute such conditions to climate change and global warming which are both essentially man made scenarios.
Experts speaking to Pune365 unanimously believe that besides our indifference to the environment, our lack of preparedness in handling such extreme weather conditions is adding to the misery…
“The increasing trend in heavy rainfall and weather events can be related to climate change and global warming,” said Dr D.S. Pai, Head, Climate Prediction Group, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune.
Explaining this, Dr Pai says “when there is a rise in temperature, water holding capacity of the air increase and holds more moisture content. Hence, when the clouds form, there will be more water to be precipitated leading to the intensity of rain increasing,”
“As per the observations recorded of several hundred years or so, we find that in places over Central India, along the West Coast, areas close to the Himalayas and the North East, there is an increasing trend of rainfall density.
“Our observations also show that over Central India and close to Himalayas in addition to the increase in rainfall density, there is also an increase in the frequency of the heavy rainfall events.
Both these observations have impact on the flooding events or instant flooding. This is particularly seen in urban floods where infrastructure is such that it is difficult for water to percolate because of infiltration into the soil and the lack of adequate drainage systems adding to the misery.
“Additionally, there is also an increase in the low pressure systems in the monsoons due to rise in temperature leading to heavy rainfall. Earlier predictions also show that in the future, there will be further increase in such heavy rainfall events.
In Kerala the reason for the flooding is not just heavy rainfall, but also because of the dam water being released alongside the heavy downpour.
Back in Maharashtra, we can expect heavy rainfall till mid-September, during the monsoon withdrawal,” added Dr Pai.
“The authorities and citizen’s lack of preparedness and myopia in planning for handling such crises also added to the increased losses, quips Dr Anupam Saraph, Researcher, Innovator and Future Planning Expert.
Sharing his thoughts on how a city should be ready to handle extreme events, Dr Saraph, says, “The floods are a wakeup call to what we will experience with sea level rise due to climate change in all coastal areas in India.
“Authorities need to ensure they plan to move settlements away from the coast. They need to ensure that the new cities do not grow cancerously. They need to create 10 year action plans to make existing cities walkable.
Saraph adds, “They have to ensure that the carbon emissions of the cities are lowered to reduce the contribution to adverse climate change.
I hope the ministry of urban development will create a taskforce to coordinate this action across all coastal states. “The citizens and authorities need to protect the natural water cycle.
“The forests and the Western Ghats are important to buffer heavy precipitation. The streams and rivers are important to allow percolation to groundwater and to carry the water to the sea.
It will be important to protect the forests, the mountains, streams, rivers and water bodies from encroachment,” Saraph further adds.
Purushottam Chowdhary, a city based entrepreneur and social worker, says that the reason of all the weather events are due to the obstacles that man created in the nature and natural cycle.
“Everything is inter-related. Our actions are now being repaid by nature in a way that is very difficult to repair.
“Air pollution, excessive garbage burning, water pollution, soil erosion, felling of trees and rapid construction are all related to climate change which may not be visible, but it’s impact is serious and we are witnessing the repercussions of our actions today.
“The recorded maximum temperature in Pune earlier hardly ever reached 35-40 degrees celsius, but this time it almost hit the 50 degree mark and we still believe that this is not a man-made calamity!” Chowdhary remarks.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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