Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Latest forecasts from the US National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) seem to suggest that the ongoing rains over the southern peninsula may spill over into the first week of October, if not beyond.
The European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) supports this outlook with forecast for a strong low-pressure area (even a likely depression) over west-central Bay of Bengal.
The 'low' is forecast to shape up off the Andhra Pradesh coast by September 28, the ECMWF said, adding that the late-September 'low' would travel west over the peninsula bringing rain to most parts.
The outlook for September 30 (up to which forecasts were available on Sunday) posited the system smack over the Vidarbha-Telangana region backed up with solid moisture feed enough to fuel its further westward journey.
The NCEP projections point to a scenario where the system goes on to cross the west coast and emerge into the Arabian Sea and track further west-northwest.
The week from September 28 to October 6 would, thus, see the thundershower cover being extended even into central India, according to the NCEP projections.
Meanwhile on Sunday, the predominant weather-driving north-south trough ran down Bihar to the Kerala coast cutting through the east-central peninsula.
The trough continued to feature an upper air cyclonic circulation over west-central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal.
According to forecasts, this system could linger on waxing and waning in strength to ultimately set the ground for the larger low-pressure area.
Satellite pictures on Sunday showed convective clouds over parts of north and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal, southeast Arabian Sea, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Gangetic West Bengal and Karnataka.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its update on Sunday that the scattered to fairly widespread rainfall activity over the south peninsular India is likely persist during the next three days as well, up to which forecasts were available.
Scattered to fairly widespread rainfall activity with isolated heavy falls is also likely over the Northeastern States, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim during this period.
The three days ending September 25 (Friday) would see scattered rainfall activity over the north-eastern States. Scattered to fairly widespread rainfall activity is also forecast for parts of south peninsular India.
An update from the Regional Met Centre, Chennai, said that rainfall occurred at many places over coastal and south interior Karnataka; and at a few places over Tamil Nadu, Kerala, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema during the 24 hours ending on Sunday morning.
Isolated rainfall occurred over Telangana and north interior Karnataka.
Forecast for the next two days said that rain or thundershowers are likely at many places over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, coastal Andhra Pradesh, coastal and south interior Karnataka and at a few places over Rayalaseema and Lakshadweep.
Isolated rain or thundershowers are likely to occur over Telangana and north interior Karnataka.
A warning valid for the period said that isolated heavy rain is likely over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and coastal Andhra Pradesh.
The world is now collectively planning to build so many coal-fired power stations over the next 25 years that their lifetime carbon emissions will equal the total of all the human coal-burning activities since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
That is just one of the alarming facts to come out of the latest World Bank report on climate change, yet the energy industry is spending alarmingly little on research and development that might clean up its emissions - about 0.5 per cent of its trillion-dollar annual revenues.
No wonder the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, is urging world leaders meeting in New York at this week's global climate summit to think about the conditions that will sustain life on this planet in the future.
If we continue business as usual, as many in the energy industry appear to be doing, scientists predict we are looking at a 5 to 6 degree rise in temperature by the end of this century, creating a world few of us would want to live in.
From the World Bank to the world scientific community, we are hearing dire warnings that we must act differently, act together and act now. Yet despite this, the Prime Minister is signalling a need to "manage down" expectations for a global climate agreement in Copenhagen in December.
This comes as many in the energy industry here and around the world are lobbying hard to water down or postpone measures aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The global climate talks are bogged down in an elaborate game of chicken with the players waiting to see who will blink first. Australia, the US and Europe want countries such as India and China to make a commitment to rein in their exploding emissions. China and India first want to see the high-income nations put up the money and technological help to assist the developing world do this. They also want evidence that rich nations will make deep cuts in their own emissions.
With fewer than 80 days to Copenhagen the game is at a stand-off. But it's obvious unless we all act together everyone will lose.
The quality of life of Australians, Americans and Europeans depends utterly on persuading people in China, India, Latin America and Africa that they are serious about climate change; that they will invest the public and private money needed to transform the world's energy system and the way forests and farmlands are managed.
This will secure a better quality of life for both the developing world and us. It will mean cities from Shanghai to Cairns may escape the worst impacts of sea level rise, extreme weather and food shortages.
In exchange, the developing world must begin to slow, then reduce, its growing emissions which threaten to overwhelm the rest of us by 2050.
But the argument only rings true if wealthy countries are indeed prepared to make deep cuts to their own emissions. Without these cuts, few people believe the energy companies and their banks will be forced to invest in any real transformation.
This scepticism is understandable. In recent weeks Kevin Rudd and his Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, have led an orgy of self-congratulation over the launch of Australia's biggest new fossil fuel energy project, the Gorgon gas development. The project has been lauded as a "cleaner" energy development despite its staggering greenhouse footprint, and Ferguson says it's just the beginning of the latest gas bonanza.
The politicians praised Chevron, Exxon and Shell for their plan to bury the project's carbon emissions under the nature reserve of Barrow Island, neglecting to say it would deal with less than half of them. Also brushed aside are questions over whether the burial plan will indeed work.
In Canada, the same companies are investors in the controversial oil tar sands projects, the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas pollution in that country. To extract the lucrative oil from Canada's tar sands, the companies use vast amounts of natural gas. By 2012, it's estimated the tar sands operations will require 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to operate. The greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of tar sands oil are up to 40 per cent higher than emissions from conventional crude oil.
Yet the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and the energy companies are ferocious in their defence of the projects and their sales to energy hungry American consumers.
Little wonder Indian and Chinese officials lapse into recriminations when we argue they are not doing enough. Australians still have one of the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions per head, around 27 tonnes, far ahead of the average Chinese or Indian citizen.
The British climate economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, believes by 2050, with 9 billion people on the planet, each of us will all be entitled, on average, to emit just 2 tonnes per head. These figures alone give a stark insight into why getting all sides to agree on what is a fair and equitable climate deal is so extremely difficult.
As the world leaders arrived in New York for the climate summit there were encouraging signs some understood that now is the time to "manage up" not "manage down" expectations that an ambitious deal can be sealed in Copenhagen. Because unless they begin to believe change is possible, neither the energy companies nor us, their consumers, will really believe we have to act differently, act together and act now.
It's still Monsoon-time in Bangladesh - and the rain continues to fall. Coping with flooding has already become a way of life for the resilient people living in Satkhira, southern Bangladesh, who are learning to live with the increasing impacts of climate change.
Starting today, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening a Summit on Climate Change in New York to focus Heads of State and Government on the need for urgent action in advance of December's UN summit in Copenhagen.
High on the agenda will be the need for extra money - above existing aid commitments - to help people living in vulnerable countries, such as Bangladesh, to adapt to their changing environment.
The UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID), with the UN and others, is already helping 500,000 ordinary Bangladeshi people adapt on-the-ground by using various simple, yet innovative, methods.
These pictures were taken just a few days ago in Satkhira. They show the Bangladeshi people's resilience and determination to survive against the odds - whatever the weather brings?
DFID will spend up to £75m on helping to tackle the impacts of climate change on Bangladesh over the next five years.