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Climate change making heatwaves deadlier

The UK’s heat wave earlier this month fueled so many blazes in London that the city’s fire service was busier than any day since Nazi attacks in World War II…reports Asian Lite News

The UK’s heat wave earlier this month fueled so many blazes in London that the city’s fire service was busier than any day since Nazi attacks in World War II. More than 840 people may have died in England and Wales, according to a preliminary analysis. Now, a rapid scientific analysis of the event concludes that without climate change those conditions would have been “extremely unlikely.”

World Weather Attribution, the research team that conducted the study, looked at the weather in the southern half of the country on July 18-19, analyzing both peak temperatures and two-day averages. The analysis, released Thursday, found greenhouse gas pollution made the heat wave at least 10 times likelier and 4° Celsius (7.2° Fahrenheit) hotter than it would have been.

Coningsby, Lincolnshire, in east-central England, set a new UK heat record of 40.3°C (104.5°F) on July 19, breaking by 1.6°C the previous mark set in 2019. Forty-six UK weather stations recorded new highs. The heat wave also set a new mark for what scientists confusingly call high minimums, or basically hot nighttime temperatures. The country’s new night heat record is 25.8°C, almost 2°C hotter than the mark set in 1990.

The scientists at World Weather Attribution used two methods: a statistical approach looking at the temperature record, and an analysis that combines historical data with multiple climate models. The team’s methodology is peer-reviewed. Having a verified approach allows team members to conduct a rapid analysis, which itself is not immediately peer-reviewed.

Heat waves are the most straightforward kind of extreme weather for scientists to study, because they can look at temperature records without the additional complexity of atmospheric and water-system dynamics that give rise to cyclones, drought and wildfires. The effect of greenhouse gas pollution on temperature is so pronounced in general that WWA says it no longer needs to study every heat wave to know that the influence is there.

“[G]lobally, as a direct result of climate change, previously very rare heat is now just unusual,” they write. “While, in some cases, events now considered ‘extreme’ reach temperatures that were formerly all but impossible.”

WWA has become an authority on establishing links between global warming and extreme weather such as droughts and storms. Much of its work focuses on intense heat. The June 2021 heat wave over the western US-Canada border would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change. Heat this spring in India and Pakistan was 30 times more likely because of greenhouse gas pollution. Siberian heat in the first half of 2020 was 600 times likelier.

Every heat wave emerges against a local backdrop of forces. But sometimes variability in WWA’s results can come from the limitations of available tools. These can explain why their conclusions about seemingly similar heat waves may differ. Models, for example, sometimes underestimate the scale of manmade warming so far. That means analyses that blend observations and models “are thus almost certainly too conservative,” the group wrote in a summary of its findings.

“It would have been four degrees cooler without climate change, but in the models, we only see that it’s two degrees cooler without climate change,” said Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at Imperial College London and WWA’s leader. “Which means that we cannot — with the tools we have available today — we cannot really quantify the role of climate change in a very satisfactory way.”

To accompany its primary analysis, the team looked at the temperature histories for three specific weather stations. For St. James Park, Cranwell, near where the new UK record high was set, the heat was a 1-in-500 years event. For Durham, which has temperature records that date back to 1880 and broke its local record by 4°C, the heat wave had a probability of occurring once every 1,500 years. Those calculations were made based on today’s climate — already 1.2°C hotter than before industrialization.

The UK has a jump on most of the world when it comes to preparing for heat extremes. First issued a year after the 2003 European heat wave, which was an impetus for the formal study of climate impacts on extreme weather, the Heatwave Plan for England was revised in 2012 and this month deployed to communicate health risks widely and clearly. The government issued its first color-coded heat alert, “amber,” which warns of temperatures so high that “fit and healthy” people, not only high-risk individuals, could be susceptible to illness or even death.

ALSO READ-Europe’s heatwave is a strong warning

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Climate change turning snow covered white Alps green

On the other hand, vegetation productivity has increased across 77 per cent of the above tree-line area in the study region…reports Asian Lite News

The satellite imagery of the European Alps spanning the past 38 years shows that climate change is driving a decline in snow cover and increase in plant productivity, a process also known as “greening”.

Mountain landscapes are biodiversity hotspots and provide a host of important ecosystem services. For example, meltwater from alpine glaciers and snow provides nearly half of the world’s freshwater resources.

However, mountain environments are also more sensitive to climate change — warming roughly twice as fast as the global average. This is expected to impact snow cover and vegetation productivity in alpine regions, just as it has in the Arctic.

The findings led by researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland suggest that although alpine greening could increase carbon sequestration in the region, feedbacks between snow and vegetation are more likely to lead to more pronounced environmental changes in the future. This includes amplified warming, thawing of permafrost and increased habitat loss.

Climate feedbacks are processes that can either amplify or diminish the effects of climate forcings.

To determine these effects in the European Alps, the highest and most extensive mountain range in Europe, Sabine Rumpf and a team from the University used Landsat images and evaluated the spatial and temporal trends of snow cover and vegetation production from 1984 to 2021.

According to the findings, snow cover across the region has declined significantly, although in less than 10 per cent of the area studied.

On the other hand, vegetation productivity has increased across 77 per cent of the above tree-line area in the study region.

The feedback loop between greening and snow recession suggests that continued greening will likely accelerate snowmelt, which could have important implications, including altering the region’s albedo (its ability to reflect solar energy), potentially releasing greenhouse gases through melting permafrost, and disrupting ecological structures, putting fragile alpine plant and animal communities at further risk.

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Climate change could impact 7.4% of Britain’s GDP

They would also provide a further boost of 2.8 per cent to the UK’s economy by stimulating investment in green industries and infrastructure…reports Asian Lite News

Climate change impacts could cause damage to the UK, equivalent to cutting the size of the economy by at least 7.4 per cent by the end of this century, unless there are stronger reductions in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a research published on Monday said.

A team of researchers in the UK and the US analysed a range of previous studies to estimate the likely consequences of climate change from “catastrophic disruption to the global economic system” and direct effects across nine “impact channels”, including agriculture, livestock and fisheries, drought, flooding, and coastal damage.

“Assuming that the current climate policies worldwide would lead to a global temperature that is 3.9 degrees Celsius higher than its pre-industrial level by 2100, total climate change costs were found to increase from the equivalent of 1.1 per cent of UK gross domestic product (GDP) at present, to 3.3 per cent by 2050, and 7.4 per cent by 2100,” the study – published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science – said.

Cutting global emissions to net zero by 2075 would limit warming to 2.1 Celsius degrees by 2100 compared with pre-industrial level, and would slash the costs the damage to the UK from climate impacts to the equivalent of 2.4 per cent of GDP, a decrease of 5.0 percentage points compared with climate change losses to the UK economy resulting from current policies worldwide.

Dr James Rising, who led the analysis at the University of Delaware, said: “These estimates provide both a stark warning of the future economic damage to the UK resulting from a lack of climate actions, and a comparison between the costs of climate change impacts and the costs of reducing emissions.”

“We estimate that the mitigation costs involved in the UK’s pathway to Net Zero by 2050 are unlikely to exceed the equivalent of 2 per cent of GDP over the transition period. Furthermore, climate mitigation policies bring additional benefits, for example, by improving health and invigorating of the economy through investment, equivalent to an increase of 6.1 per cent in GDP by the end of this century.”

The researchers found that achieving the UK’s Net Zero target would provide added benefits to the UK beyond avoided climate impacts that would be equivalent to an increase of 3.3 per cent in GDP. They would also provide a further boost of 2.8 per cent to the UK’s economy by stimulating investment in green industries and infrastructure.

“Altogether, a scenario in which the UK reaches net zero emissions by 2050, and the world as a whole achieves the same target by 2075, would result in net economic benefits to the UK economy by the end of the century that would be equivalent to an increase in GDP of 9.1 per cent,a he said, adding, “The largest economic risk under current policies is from acatastrophic disruption to the global economic system’, which could cause losses to the UK by 2100 equivalent to 4.1 per cent of GDP by 2100.”

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India News

Climate change making record-breaking heatwaves in India, Pak

Soaring temperatures in parts of Pakistan and India in recent weeks have forced schools to close, damaged crops, put pressure on energy supplies, and kept residents indoors…reports Asian Lite News

Climate change has made the odds of a record-breaking heatwave hitting northwestern India and Pakistan 100 times more likely to happen, scientists said Wednesday, as the two countries experience high temperatures that are disrupting daily life, media reports said.

In an analysis, climate scientists with the UK’s Met Office found that the natural probability of a heatwave exceeding average temperatures from 2010 would be once in 312 years, but when climate change is factored in, the chances increase to once in every 3.1 years, CNN reported.

April and May in 2010 was used as a point of comparison because those months had the highest average temperatures since 1900, it said.

Soaring temperatures in parts of Pakistan and India in recent weeks have forced schools to close, damaged crops, put pressure on energy supplies, and kept residents indoors. It even prompted experts to question whether such heat is fit for human survival, the report said.

Jacobabad, one of the hottest cities in the world, in Pakistan’s Sindh province, hit 51 degrees Celsius on Sunday, and 50 degrees the day before. In neighbouring India, temperatures in the capital region of Delhi surpassed 49 degrees on Sunday.

The analysis also made projections, showing the frequency of such heatwaves in the region would increase to increase to once every 1.15 years by the end of the century, CNN reported.

“Spells of heat have always been a feature of the region’s pre-monsoon climate during April and May. However, our study shows that climate change is driving the heat intensity of these spells making record-breaking temperatures 100 times more likely,” said the Met Office’s Nikos Christidis, who produced the analysis. “By the end of the century increasing climate change is likely to drive temperatures of these values on average every year.”

India and Pakistan are highly vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, particularly in terms of extreme heat.

Key indicators break records

Four key climate change indicators, including greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification, set new records in 2021, a report from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said.

According to the WMO State of the Global Climate in 2021 report on Wednesday, the past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, with 2021 being “only” one of the seven warmest because of a La Nina event at the start and end of the year, which had a temporary cooling effect but did not reverse the overall trend of rising temperatures.

The average global temperature in 2021 was about 1.11 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level, the report added.

That’s based on the 2015 Paris Agreement in which countries set long-term goals to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase in this century to two degrees Celsius while pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The WMO report said greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new global high in 2020 and continued to increase in 2021 and early 2022, as ocean heat was record high and ocean acidification intensifying, which threatens organisms and ecosystem services, and hence food security, tourism and coastal protection.

Global mean sea level also reached a new record high in 2021, at a rate of more than double that between 1993 and 2002, mainly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets.

Extreme meteorological hazards such as exceptional heatwaves, flooding, drought and hurricane raged across the globe, affecting ecosystems and displaced millions of population.

The WMO also warned that the compounded effects of conflict, extreme weather events and economic shocks, further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, undermined global food security.

Of the total number of undernourished people in 2020, more than half, or 418 million, live in Asia and a third, or 282 million, in Africa.

In his video speech at the launch of the report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed five critical actions to jump-start the renewable energy transition, including greater access to renewable energy technology and supplies, a tripling of private and public investments in renewables and an end to subsidies on fossil fuels which amount to nearly $11 million per minute.

The world must act in this decade to prevent ever-worsening climate impacts and keep temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, he said

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Environment Environment and WIldlife

Indian monsoon and the impact of climate change

The rainfall patterns are changing, not just spatial but also intra-seasonal…reports Asian Lite News

Scientists have already warned of changing climatic conditions. The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has sounded code red and warned of erratic rainfall pattern for South Asia, more so for India.

India has witnessed average monsoon rainfall changing, for example, a long dry spell in August and exceptionally high rainfall in September, as happened in 2020. Year 2021 saw excess rainfall in August. In a manner, the larger climatological changes are now finding manifestation on ground.

There are a number of factors that have an impact on India’s southwest monsoon season.

“El Nino, La Nina are the major factors affecting the monsoon rainfall. Then, there is the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). Last year, the major drivers were from the Atlantic. September (weather) is mainly governed by the polar region,” Union Earth Sciences Secretary, M. Ravichandran said.

The rainfall patterns are changing, not just spatial but also intra-seasonal.

“If we look at the decadal change, there is no long-term change for the country as a whole. But, there is temporal variability. Within the season itself, sometimes there are large dry spells and sometimes there are large wet spells, though total rainfall remains the same. (so) there is an impact of climate change – number of days of heavy rainfall is increasing and number of days of light to moderate rainfall is decreasing,” India Meteorological Department’s Director General, Meteorology, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.

“That is the reason why there are sometimes longer dry spells and longer wet spells.”

The IMD has already done climate variability and climate change analysis at state level and district level. “From that, we find that up to 2018, there are certain trends visible in it.”

“If we look at the spatial distribution and the rainfall distribution, we could attribute it to climate change. But the regional impact of climate change, with respect to specific districts etc. needs further investigation,” Mohapatra said.

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is the difference in warming/cooling of the west Indian Ocean and the east Indian Ocean. La Nina is associated with the cooling over the central and east Pacific Ocean. An El Nino (as against La Nina) is generally associated with deficient/surplus monsoon rainfall over India.

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Environment World News

Adapt now, or suffer later

Noting nearly half the world’s population was already vulnerable to increasingly dangerous climate impacts, the United Nations climate science report called for drastic action on a huge scale, reports Asian Lite News

Climate change is upon us and humanity is far from ready, the United Nations climate science panel warned in a major report on Monday.

Noting nearly half the world’s population was already vulnerable to increasingly dangerous climate impacts, the report called for drastic action on a huge scale.

Climate change is likely going to make the world sicker, hungrier, poorer and way more dangerous by 2040 with an “unavoidable” increase in risks, and there remained only “a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”, said the report.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) study on Monday said if human-caused global warming was not limited to just another couple tenths of a degree, an Earth now struck regularly by deadly heat, fires, floods and drought in future decades will degrade in 127 ways – with some being “potentially irreversible”.

It pressed governments to quickly cut heat-trapping carbon emissions.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

“Adaptation saves lives,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said with the report’s release. “As climate impacts worsen – and they will – scaling up investments will be essential for survival… The delay means death.”

3.3 billion affected

The 3,675-page report is the latest in a series by the IPCC detailing the global consensus on climate science. This report, however, focused on how nature and societies are being affected and what they can do to adapt.

Children today who may still be alive in the year 2100 are going to experience four times more climate extremes than they do now even with only a few more tenths of a degree of warming over today’s heat.

But if temperatures increase nearly two more degrees Celsius from now (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit), they would feel five times the floods, storms, drought and heatwaves, according to the collection of scientists at the IPCC.

Already, at least 3.3 billion people’s daily lives “are highly vulnerable to climate change” and 15 times more likely to die from extreme weather, the report said.

What does it mean for India?

Globally human-induced heat and humidity will create conditions beyond human tolerance if emissions are not rapidly eliminated. India is among the places that will experience these intolerable conditions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body, said on Monday.

The landmark report refers to wet-bulb temperatures, a measure that combines heat and humidity. A wet-bulb temperature of 31 degrees Celsius is extremely dangerous for humans, while a value of 35 degrees is unsurvivable for more than about six hours, even for fit and healthy adults resting in the shade.

Even below these levels the heat can be deadly, especially for old or young people or those doing hard physical work.

Currently, wet-bulb temperatures in India rarely exceed 31 degrees, with most of the country experiencing maximum wet-bulb temperatures of 25-30 degrees, according to a study cited by the UN body in its report that is the summary for policymakers of the Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report.

The Working Group II report is titled “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”.

It notes that if emissions are cut, but only by the levels currently promised, many parts of northern and coastal India would reach extremely dangerous wet-bulb temperatures of over 31 degrees towards the end of the century; if emissions continue to rise, wet-bulb temperatures will approach or exceed the unsurvivable limit of 35 degrees over much of India, with the majority of the country reaching wet-bulb temperatures of 31 degrees or more.

The study also mentions that under RCP8.5 (high emissions scenario), at the end of the century, Lucknow and Patna are among the cities predicted to reach wet-bulb temperatures of 35 degrees if emissions continue to rise, while Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Mumbai, Indore and Ahmedabad are all identified as at risk of reaching wet-bulb temperatures of 32-34 degrees with continued emissions.

Overall, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab will be the most severely affected, but if emissions continue to increase, all Indian states will have regions that experience wet-bulb 30 degrees or more by the end of the century.

In South Asia particularly, intense heat waves of longer duration and higher frequency are projected with medium confidence over India.

At the city-level, these projections could translate into significant impacts: at 1.5 degrees, on average, Kolkata will experience heat equivalent to the 2015 record heat waves every year and under two degrees warming, it could expect such heat annually.

Critically, the impact of extreme heat is experienced disproportionately within cities with the poorest populations and those with lower access to green spaces are affected the most.

The sea-level rise will threaten people, land use patterns and infrastructure in India.

The global sea levels will likely rise 44cm-76cm this century if governments meet their current emission-cutting pledges. With faster emission cuts, the increase could be limited to 28cm-55cm. But with higher emissions, and if ice sheets collapse more quickly than expected, sea levels could rise as much as two metres this century.

As sea levels rise, more land will be submerged, flooded regularly, eroded, or become unsuitable for agriculture due to saltwater intrusion.

India is one of the most vulnerable countries globally in terms of the population that will be affected by sea-level rise.

By the middle of the century, around 35 million people in India could face annual coastal flooding, with 45-50 million at risk by the end of the century if emissions are high — with far fewer at risk if emissions are lower, according to a study cited by the IPCC report.

The economic costs of sea-level rise and river flooding for India would also be among the highest in the world. Direct damage is estimated at between $24 billion if emissions are cut only about as rapidly as currently promised, and $36 billion, if emissions are high and ice sheets are unstable, according to another study cited by the report.

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Environment India News

Himalayan meltdown an alarm for humanity

As many as 10 major rivers of the Indian sub-continent originate from the Himalayas and India’s 45 per cent population is directly or indirectly dependent on Himalayas….reports Asian Lite News

Two recent studies have thrown more light on the condition of the glaciers across Himalayas and also those from the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh. Although the thinning, melting, and receding of glaciers have been known for quite some time now, every new study comes as an alarm for humanity.

In their latest published study, a bunch of researchers have studied the Pangong Tso region of Ladakh and ascertained the area changes and frontal retreat of 87 glaciers between 1990 and 2019 using satellite data. Besides, the glacier outlines were delineated manually and compared with existing regional and global glacier inventories that are available over the region.

This analysis indicated deglaciation of 6.7 per cent from 1990 to 2019 over the Pangong Region with clean-ice glaciers showing a higher retreat of 8.4 per cent compared to the debris-covered glaciers’ 5.7 per cent. However, the overall recession is lower compared to other parts of north-western Himalayas, the study published in the study titled ‘Spatiotemporal dynamics and geodetic of glaciers with varying debris cover in the Pangong region of Trans-Himalayan Ladakh India between 1990 and 2019’, published in Frontiers in Earth Science journal in December 2021, said.

From 2000 to 2012, the glaciers lost an ice mass amounting to 0.33 to 0.05 metre water equivalent (m we) per year. The only thing is that the mean glacier elevation did not indicate any influence on glacier recession.

Unlike this, another study published last week found out that glaciers on Mount Everest such as South Col Glacier, which is located at the highest point in the world, have been thinning at an alarming rate, with estimated thinning rates of nearly two metre per year.

The study published in the Nature Portfolio journal ‘Climate and Atmospheric Research’, as reported by IANS, addresses a key question from the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition on whether glaciers at the highest point on earth are experiencing the impacts of climate change. And the Mount Everest region has indeed been losing ice significantly since the late 1990s, it was revealed.

So do we know everything about Himalayan glaciers?

It has been known for quite some time that the Himalayan glaciers are showing recession due to multiple reasons, including climate change. Even the government is aware of and maintains data regarding melting of Himalayan glaciers.

It is also known that the glaciers in eastern, central, and western parts of the Himalayas are reacting differently to different causes such as climatic conditions, topography, and geological influences. The Western part also includes the Karakoram ranges and the Trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, which is supposed to be relatively stable compared to the rapidly changing eastern or central parts.

The Himalayas are called the third pole as it is the repository of the highest volume of ice outside the two poles. As many as 10 major rivers of the Indian sub-continent originate from the Himalayas and India’s 45 per cent population is directly or indirectly dependent on Himalayas.

Melting glaciers have significant impact on water resources of Himalayan rivers due to change in glacier basin hydrology, downstream water budget, impact on hydropower plants due to variation in discharge, flash flood and sedimentation. They also increase in risk related to glacier hazards due to enhanced number and volume of glacier lakes, accelerated flash flood and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), impact on agro practices in high Himalayan region etc.

Multiple government agencies have been studying the glaciers albeit the effort is far too less given the vast number of glaciers – 10-15,000 known large glaciers and numerous smaller ones – spread across the Himalayas with most of them difficult to reach.

In the just concluded Budget Session of the Parliament, Lok Sabha member Dushyant Singh had asked if the government is aware of the study conducted by the University of Leeds, regarding the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers, published in journal Nature Scientific Reports in 2021.

The government agreed that it was aware of it and pointed out the difference between the findings of the multiple studies. The University of Leeds, the Minister for Earth Sciences, Dr Jitendra Singh answered, had reconstructed the size and ice surfaces of 14,798 Himalayan glaciers during the Little Ice Age, which was 400-700 years ago.

The study concludes that the Himalayan glaciers have lost ice 10 times more quickly over the last few decades than on average since the last major glacier expansion. In the last 400 to 700 years, the glaciers have lost around 40 per cent area – shrinking from 28,000 sq kms to around 19,600 sq km.

The Minister also listed the various Indian institutes/universities/organisations such as Geological Survey of India, the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, the National Institute of Hydrology, the Space Application Centre, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) etc. that monitor Himalayan glaciers for various scientific studies including glacier melting.

The NCPOR has utilised Rs 11.88 crore during the last five years for Himalayan Glacier research. Rs 15.44 crore has been utilised by DST and Rs 1.1 crore by GSI during the last five years, he said.

These studies have reported accelerated heterogeneous mass loss in Himalayan glaciers. The mean retreat rate of Himalayan glaciers is in the range of 14.9 to 15.1 metre/annum (m/a); which varies from 12.7 to 13.2 m/a in Indus, 15.5 to 14.4 m/a in Ganga and 20.2 to 19.7 m/a in Brahmaputra river basins. However, glaciers in the Karakoram region have shown comparatively minor length change (from minus 1.37 to 22.8 m/a), indicating the stable condition.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences, through its autonomous institute NCPOR, is monitoring six glaciers in the Chandra basin (2,437 sq km area) in western Himalaya since 2013. The rate of annual mass balance (melting) ranging from minus 0.3 to 0.06 metre water equivalent per year (m w.e.y-1) to minus 1.13 to 0.22 m w.e.y-1 during 2013-2020. Similarly, a mean thinning of approx 50 metres with a mean annual mass loss of minus 1.09 to 0.32 m w.e. y-1 was observed for the Baspa basin during 2000-2011.

The GSI has taken up a project on melting of glaciers in Beas Basin, South Chenab basin and Chandra Basin in Himachal Pradesh, Shyok and Nubra basin in Ladakh during Field Season 2021-22.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has supported various R&D projects for studying Himalayan Glaciers under the National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem, and National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

The mass balance studies conducted for some Himalayan glaciers by University of Kashmir, the Sikkim University, the IISc and the WIHG, revealed that the majority of Himalayan glaciers are melting or retreating at varying rates.

WIHG is monitoring a few glaciers in Uttarakhand, which reveal that the Dokriani Glacier in the Bhagirathi basin is retreating at 15-20 m/a since 1995, whereas Chorabari Glacier in the Mandakini basin is retreating at 9-11 m/a during 2003-2017. WIHG is also monitoring Durung-Drung and Pensilungpa glaciers in Suru basin, Ladakh, which are retreating at 12 m/a, and approximately 5.6 m/a, respectively.

The NIH has been conducting several studies for the assessment of runoff from melting of glaciers at catchment and basin scales across Himalayas. “The recent publication suggests that at regional scale, mass loss rate varies between minus 0.41 to 0.11 m.w.e.y-1 in the eastern; minus 0.58 to 0.01 m.w.e.y-1 in the central; minus 0.55 to 0.37 m.w.e.y-1 in the western Himalaya and minus 0.10 to 0.07 m.w.e.y-1 in Karakoram region in the last decade, the Lok Sabha was told.

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India News Politics

Lok Sabha begins discussion on climate change

Trinamool Congress’ Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said that this is an important issue for all human beings…reports Asian Lite News.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday took up the discussion on climate change under Rule 193.

Speaker On Birla said this is an important subject for all human beings, and it is a matter of great pride that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advocated the conservation of the climate on all international forums.

Initiating the debate, DMK’s Kanimozhi cited the excessive flooding in recent weeks in south India and how Chennai has badly affected again, as she stressed that the government needs to act on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

BJP’s Sanjay Jaiswal said that Prime Minister Modi has initiated a series of steps in this direction soon after he took over in 2014 and equally voiced his concerns on all international forums. Even in the Glasgow summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had widely praised him a lot for his pro-active role played for climate change, he added.

However, Leader of Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the time has come when we need to think globally but act locally. India has the lowest rate of emission at five percent only compared to other countries of the world, but climate change was “the most under-reported failure of the Modi government”. “The assault on climate began as soon as Modi government took over in 2014,” he added.

Trinamool Congress’ Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said that this is an important issue for all human beings.

“In India, we cannot put on a mask all the time. Some rich people use air fresheners in their rooms but poor people cannot and they are forced to inhale the polluted air,” she said.

She also said that one should not plainly blame the farmers for burning the stubble as they have been doing it for ages. “We should teach them alternate ways first.”

She noted that unplanned development, not in keeping with the sustainable development goals, is causing Climate Change.

“The area of Sunderban in Bengal is under constant threat as the water level in the Ganga is rising and the sea level is also rising due to the melting ice in Antarctica.

“We need to certainly think on the issues… We need to reduce the carbon emissions, we need electric vehicles. The frequency of the cyclone has increased substantially in recent times.

“We need to have renewable energy as Denmark has 100 percent renewable energy. Solar energy could be a substantial replacement but 80 percent of the energy in India comes from fossil fuels,” she said.

She also suggested that the MPLAD funds can be used for setting up solar panels in rural areas, hospitals and other places and the government should amend the law to allow this.

Dileswar Kamait of the Janata Dal-United said that unplanned development of the cities, the impact of climate change can be seen in every part of the world but this is more seen in India. For infra projects, around 69 lakhs trees have been cut in recent years, he added.

BSP member Ritesh Pandey said that we need to be serious about climate change and economic development and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

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Urgent action sought to tackle Pak’s looming water crisis

The President said that urgent actions are required for the management of water resources and improved system of water conservation at the national and local levels….reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan President Arif Alvi said that sustained comprehensive efforts were required at the national level to tackle the looming threat of water scarcity and ensuing food insecurity in the country.

Climate change is the key factor affecting the reliability of water resources across the globe and raising concerns about the future of water availability and food security in countries including Pakistan, the President said while addressing a conference on water management.

“There is a serious threat of water scarcity in Pakistan by 2035 owing to the country’s increasing vulnerability to climate change,” Xinhua news agency quoted Alvi as saying.

Pakistan President says Gwadar, Jebel Ali ports complement international trade

He added that several areas of Pakistan have already started facing increased water scarcity with a critical need for climate adaptation in the water sector.

The President said that urgent actions are required for the management of water resources and improved system of water conservation at the national and local levels.

The Pakistan government has made solid progress in achieving key principles defined under the National Water Policy and called for an integrated approach among provinces for its complete implementation.

To address the issue of water management, Alvi emphasised on the practices to reduce water consumption including drip irrigation, water recycling and reallocating water for more valuable uses.

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Environment India News

Deep ocean, climate change and a mission

Ocean warming will definitely have an impact on marine biodiversity. That is all to do with upper ocean heat content, said Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, M Ravichandran…reports Nivedita Khandekar

India has outlined an ambitious plan to touch the depths of the Indian Ocean as part of its ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ with the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) as its nodal implementing agency.

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is an integral part of ocean monitoring and plays an important role in forecasting models. As the changes in the SST conditions over the Pacific and the Indian Oceans are known to influence the Indian climate, India Meteorological Department (IMD) is carefully monitoring the evolution of sea surface conditions over these ocean basins.

Because of climate change, the sea level will rise leading to disturbances such as the cyclones. Atmospheric and ocean circulation is all connected. Ocean warming will definitely have an impact on marine biodiversity. That is all to do with upper ocean heat content, said Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, M Ravichandran.

climate change

“We are already at it and want to continue to monitor the oceans. Most of the heat is at the top, up to 2,000 metres as per the information currently available. But the actual heat is below 2,000 metres. Since we do not know what is happening there, would want to monitor,” he added.

“As on date, the mass (humidity) and the temperature are available. If you want a week’s forecast, we want to know SST. Then, if you want to forecast for a month ahead, you need to go to at least 100 metres below the surface, for where the heat is available. You want to go for next season, you will need to go below 1,000 metres. You want to go for a year, then you need to go still further below,” the top scientist explained, adding “But if we want to go for the climate, we need to go below 2,000 metres depth.”

“At 2,000 metres, the variation in temperature is minimal, very small. But that will give you clues to the future. This is why we have got to monitor the entire water column,” he said.

That will help achieve one of the six deliverables under the Deep Ocean Mission, i.e., the ‘Development of ocean climate change advisory services’.

Earlier this year, the Assessment Report 6 of the working group I of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6 WGI) had warned how the intensity and frequency of the sea level extremes and the frequency of cyclones are set to increase by 2050 and then intensify further by 2100 as the global temperature rise continues.

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