Tuesday, September 01, 2009
The below normal rains this monsoon may be a consequence of Global warming as a new research warned there is a steady increase in temperature of Arabian sea compared to landmass thus weakening the monsoon activity over the country.
The difference between the temperature of sea, which is normally lesser than land, and land-mass around it is known as Temperature Gradient responsible to bring monsoon winds, called westerlies, to India.Researchers from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology,Pune found that sea temperature is rising at a higher rate than land--meaning crucial temperature difference is narrowing resulting in weakening of rain causing westerlies.
Dr S M Bawiskar who led the study stated that in the long term the reduction in temperature gradient, induced by global warming, will mean monsoon current over Arabian sea would become weak.The decreasing trend is highly significant and in another 150 years or so it may go down to zero.This will lead to reduced rainfall activity over Indian Peninsula. The break like circulation will prevail for a longer period of time which we are already experiencing during this monsoon, he said in an interview.
Monsoon is not yet here, but the city and suburbs are seeing an increase in diseases associated with the rainy season. Water-borne and
vector-borne diseases such as acute diarrhoeal disorders, malaria, dengue, Chikunguniya and leptospirosis have raised their heads. The directorate of public health has urged doctors to be on the look out for differential diagnosis when these diseases come along with the present epidemic, A H1N1.
"It's too early to predict how serious the combined illnesses would affect people," says director of public health Dr S Elango. "We have told doctors to be careful while diagnosing and treating patients. With rains and cold weather, there will be a large number of people, particularly children and the elderly, down with several viral infections. Sometimes it can be combination of A H1N1 with another disease. Doctors should look out for trends to make the right diagnosis," he added.
The monsoon, he said, also marks the beginning of festive days. "While we are in the peak of winter in December, we would have expats and NRIs coming home for the Marghazi festival. That would obviously increase risks at the time when the weather is friendly," he adds.
While entomologists predict dengue and chikunguniya will be higher this monsoon, laboratories including the Tamil Nadu University of Veterinary Sciences (Tanuvas) have already seen an increase in the number of leptospirosis, commonly called rat fever. Private hospitals such as St Antony Hospital in Madhavaram have already begun admitting patients for leptospirosis and doctors say they see at least two new cases every day from areas like Manali and Madhavaram.
Tanuvas vice chancellor Dr P Thangaraju says he sees at least 25 cases every day. "Of the 50 samples we test everyday, at least 25 of them are positive. We expect it to go up to 100 a day by November," said Thangaraju. In July alone, the directorate of public health recorded 37 cases of dengue and 114 cases of chikunguniya across the state. The directorate of public health says it has been holding workshops and training for doctors and paramedical staff to look for people with symptoms. "We hold seminars and coordinate with civic agencies for chlorination of water and vector control measures.
Nepal's prime minister opened the first climate change conference of Himalayan nations on Monday with a warning about the dangers of melting glaciers, floods and violent storms for the region.
With 1.3 billion people dependent on the water that flows down from the melting Himalayan glaciers, Madhav Kumar Nepal said cross-border cooperation was essential in tackling the impact of climate change.
"The threats and risks of climate change have manifested themselves in the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, rising sea levels and violent storm surges," he said as he opened the talks in Kathmandu.
"More frequent extreme weather events have affected agricultural production across the region.
"The potentially catastrophic impact on lives and livelihoods has assumed a huge importance in our international relations."
South Asian environment officials have gathered in Kathmandu for the conference, aimed at highlighting the problems facing the region ahead of a key climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.
However, the absence of a representative from the Indian government is expected to weaken any message that comes out of the talks.
Environmental campaigners refer to the Himalayas as the "third pole" and say the melting glaciers are the biggest potential contributors to rising sea levels after the north and south poles.
But this is the first time Himalayan governments have come together to lobby for ambitious emission reduction targets at the Copenhagen summit, which aims to seal a new international climate change accord.
"Nepal's message needs to be heard, and the message of the mountains needs to be heard," said World Bank water and climate expert Claudia Sadoff ahead of the conference.
"The Himalayas have their own very real set of challenges, but there are also a lot of adaptation and mitigation opportunities in the mountains."
Glaciers in the Himalayas, a 2,400-kilometre (1,500-mile) range that sweeps through Pakistan, India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, provide headwaters for Asia's nine largest rivers, a lifeline for people who live downstream.
"The Himalayas are the source of the world's seven largest rivers and supply water to 40 percent of its population," said Mohan Munasinghe, vice chairman of the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change.
Munasinghe said South Asian governments must begin working together to tackle flooding and water management problems.
"We cannot afford to fail," he told delegates.
Prof TN Veziroglu, president of International Association of Hydrogen Energy (IAHE), Florida (US), would send a recommendation to the
Prime Minister of India to induce industries for commercialisation of hydrogen devices like two, three-wheelers and cookers developed at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Hydrogen Energy Centre and at other places in the country. He said he would also recommend that Varanasi should be declared as the Hydrogen City where hydrogen will get introduced in a phased manner, replacing fossil fuel- petroleum.
Prof Veziroglu was in the city to attend a two-day symposium on 'Hydrogen Energy and Climate Change' at the Hydrogen Energy Centre of BHU on Sunday. In his inaugural lecture on 'Hydrogen Energy System: Ultimate Solution to Climate Change', he said hydrogen energy research and development efforts at several universities and institutes of India, including BHU, were in the advanced stage. Pre-commercial models of hydrogen devices like two and three wheelers, home cookers had already been made. "India is already feeling the heat of climate change effects by way of change in weather pattern, very low intensity rain and submerging of low lying area like Bombay in rain water almost every year," he said.
He further stated it was an opportune time for the Government of India to support mission mode research projects at universities and institutes and at the same time induce industries by providing tax rebates and subsides to come forward and manufacture the hydrogen energy devices already developed by Indian universities and institutes. He said produced from water, hydrogen burnt back to water after use in vehicles or turbine. Thus, it was most climate friendly and formed the ultimate solution to climate change. Prof Veziroglu also took a ride on the campus on hydrogen-fuelled three-wheeler developed by BHU centre.
Delivering his presidential speech, BHU vice-chancellor Prof DP Singh said global warming and climate changes were no longer a matter of conjecture. "They are real and are causing a loss of about 22 per cent of World GDP," he said.
Convener Prof ON Srivastava, also the principal investigator and coordinator of Hydrogen Energy Centre, said climate change effects would produce detrimental efforts like droughts, flooding, change in weather pattern, loss of agriculture, first in warm countries like India. "Cold countries like US, Russia, Europe, in the initial years of global warming and climate change, will be benefited from increased agriculture production, lower energy requirement for space (building) heating, increased tourism," he explained.
Prof Madhulika Agarwal of botany department also spoke on various aspects of climate change. The function was also addressed by Prof Sasikala of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Prof Laxminarasu of Jawaharlal Technical University, Hyderabad, Prof SP Singh, Prof RS Tiwari and others. During concluding session, Prof ON Srivastava summarised the proceedings of the symposium. It was unanimously decided to establish National Association of Hydrogen Energy of India with its head office at BHU.
Hurricane Jimena was heading west-northwest toward Mexico's Baja Peninsula on August 30, 2009, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image. Near the time of the image, the storm had sustained winds of 140 mph, making it a Category 4 storm. Clouds from the storm stretch out over western Mexico.